S. G. and E. L. ELBERT
tit mint nil
KATH ARINE E . COM AN
My Southern Home:
THE SOUTH AND ITS PEOPLE.
WM. WELLS BROWN, M.D.
AUTHOR OF "SKETCHES OF PLACES AND PEOPLE ABROAD/'
" CLOTELLE," " THE BLACK MAN," "THE NEGRO IN
THE REBELLION," " THE RISING SON," ETC.
4t Go, little book, from this thy solitude !
I cast thee on the waters — go thy ways !
And if, as I believe, thy vein be good,
The world will find thee after many days."— Southey.
A. G. BROWN & CO., PUBLISHERS
BT ANNIE G. BROWF,
No attempt has been made to create heroes or
heroines, or to appeal to the imagination or the
The earlier incidents were written out from the
author's recollections. The later sketches here
given, are the results of recent visits to the South,
where the incidents were jotted down at the time of
their occurrence, or as they fell from the lips of the
narrators, and in their own unadorned dialect.
Boston, May, 1880.
Poplar Farm and its occupants. Southern Characteristics. Coon-
Hunting and its results. Sunny side of Slave life on the
The Religious Teaching at Poplar Farm. Rev. Mr. Pinchen.
A Model Southern Preacher. Religious Influence among the
Southerners of the olden time. Genuine negro wit.
A Southern country Doctor. Ancient mode of "pulling teeth.' '
Dinkie the King of the Youdoos.
The Parson and the Slave Trader. Slave life. Jumping the
Broomstick. Plantation humor.
An attempt to introduce Northern ideas. The new Plough. The
Southern Amusements, — Wit and Humor. Superstition. For-
tune-Telling in the olden time.
The Goopher King — his dealings with the Devil; he is feared by
Whites and Blacks. How he mastered the Overseer. Hell
exhibited in the Barn.
Slave-Hunting. The Bloodhounds on the Track. The poor
" white Trash.' ' A Sunday Meeting. A characteristic Sermon
by one of their number.
Old-Fashioned Corn- Shucking. Plantation Songs: "Shuck that
corn before you eat" an' " Have that possum nice and sweet."
The mysterious, veiled Lady. The white Slave Child. The
beautiful Quadroon, — her heroic death. The Slave Trader and
his Victim. Lola, the white Slave, — the Law's Victim.
The introduction of the Cotton Gin, and its influence on the
Price of Slaves. Great rise in Slave property. The great
Southern Slave Trader. How a man got flogged when intended
New Orleans in the olden time. A Congo Dance. Visiting the
Angels, and chased by the Devil. A live Ghost.
The Slave's Escape. He is Captured, and again Escapes. How
he outwitted the Slave-Catchers. Quaker Wit and Humor.
The Free colored people of the South before the Rebellion. Their
hard lot. Attempt to Enslave them. He-opening of the African
Slave Trade. Sentiments of distinguished Southern Fire-Eaters.
Southern control of the National Government. Their contempt
for Northerners. Insult to Northern Statesmen.
Proclamation of Emancipation. The last night of Slavery.
Waiting for the Hour. Music from the Banjo on the Wall.
Great rejoicing. Hunting friends. A Son known, Twenty Years
after separation, by the Mark on the bottom of his Foot.
Negro equality. Blacks must Paddle their own Canoe. The War
Blacks enjoying a Life of Freedom. Alabama negro Cotton-
Growers. Negro street Peddlers ; their music and their humors.
A man with One Hundred Children. His experience.
The whites of Tennessee, — their hatred to the negro, — their
antecedents. Blacks in Southern Legislatures, — their brief
Power. Re-converting a Daughter from her new Religion.
Prayer and Switches do the work.
The Blacks. Their old customs still hang upon them. Revival
Meetings. A characteristic Sermon. Costly churches for the
Freedmen. Education. Return of a Son from College.
The Freedmen' s Savings Bank. Confidence of the Blacks in the
Institution. All thought it the hope for the negro of the South.
The failure of the Bank and its bad influence.
Old Virginia. The F. F. V's of the olden times, — ex-million-
aires carrying their own Baskets of Provisions from Market.
John Jaspar, the eloquent negro Preacher; his Sermon, "The
Sun does Move." A characteristic Prayer.
Norfolk Market. Freedmen costermongers. Musical Hawkers.
The Strawberry Woman. Humorous incidents.
The Education of the Blacks. Freedmen's schools, colleges.
White Teachers in Colored schools. Schools in Tennessee.
Black pupils not allowed to Speak to White Teachers in the
Oppressive Laws against Colored People. Revival of the Whip-
ping Post. The Ku-Klux — their operations in Tennessee.
Lynch Law triumphant.
Colored men as Servants, — their Improvidence. The love of
Dress. Personal effort for Education.
Need of Combination. Should follow the Example set by the
Irish, Germans, Italians, and Chinese who come to this country.
Should patronize their own Race. Cadet Whittaker. Need of
Total Abstinence from Intoxicating Drinks a necessary object foi
Self-Elevation. Intemperance and its Evils. Literary Associ-
ations. The Exodus. Emigration a Necessity. Should follow
the Example of other Races. Professions and Trades needed.
Mixture of Races. The Anglo-Saxon. Isolated Races: The
Negro — the Irish — the Coptic — the Jews — the Gypsies — the
Romans, Mexicans, and Peruvians. Progressive Negroes, —
Artists and Painters. Pride of Race.
GREAT HOUSE AT POPLAR PARitf.
My Southern Home.
TEN miles north of the city of St. Louis, in
the State of Missouri, forty years ago, on a
pleasant plain, sloping off toward a murmuring
stream, stood a large frame-house, two stories high ;
in front was a beautiful lake, and, in the rear, an
old orchard filled with apple, peach, pear, and plum
trees, with boughs untrimmed, all bearing indiffer-
ent fruit. The mansion was surrounded with piazzas,
covered with grape-vines, clematis, and passion
flowers ; the Pride of China mixed its orienttil-
looking foliage with the majestic magnolia, and the
air was redolent with the fragrance of buds peep-
ing out of every nook, and nodding upon you with
a most unexpected welcome.
The tasteful hand of art, which shows itself in
the grounds of European and New-England villas,
was not seen there, but the lavish beauty and har-
monious disorder of nature was permitted to take
its own coursg, and exhibited a want of taste so
commonly witnessed in the sunny South.
The killing effects of the tobacco plant upon the
lands of " Poplar Farm," was to be seen in the rank
growth of the brier, the thistle, the burdock, and
4 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
tions wherever it exists, and Mrs. Gaines, when
wishing to show her contempt for the Doctor's opin-
ions, would allude to her own parentage and birth
in comparison to her husband's. Thus, once, when
they were having a "family jar," she, with tears
streaming down her cheeks, and wringing her hands,
w My mother told me that I was a fool to marry a
man so much beneath me, — one so much my inferior
in society. And now you show it by hectoring and
aggravating me all you can. But, never mind ; I
thank the Lord that He has given me religion and
grace to stand it. Never mind, one of these days
the Lord will make up His jewels, — take me home
to glory, out of your sight, — and then I'll be devil-
ish glad of it ! "
These scenes of unpleasantness, however, were not
of everyday occurrence, and, therefore, the great
house at the "Poplar Farm," may be considered as
having a happy family.
Slave children, with almost an alabaster complex-
ion, straight hair, and blue eyes, whose mothers
were jet black, or brown, were often a great source
of annoyance in the Southern household, and espec-
ially to the mistress of the mansion.
Billy, a quadroon of eight or nine years, was
amongst the young slaves, in the Doctor's house,
then being trained up for a servant! Any one taking
a hasty glance at the lad would never suspect that a
drop of negro blood coursed through his blue veins.
A gentleman, whose acquaintance Dr. Gaines had
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 5
made, but who knew nothing of the latter's family
relations, called at the house in the Doctor's absence.
Mrs. Gaines received the stranger, and asked him
to be seated, and remain till the host's return.
While thus waiting, the boy, Billy, had occasion to
pass through the room. The stranger, presuming
the lad to be a son of the Doctor, exclaimed, "How
do you do?" and turning to the lady, said, "how
much he looks like his father ; I should have known
it was the Doctor's son, if I had met him in
With flushed countenance and excited voice, Mrs.
Gaines informed the gentleman that the little fellow
w r as "only a slave and nothing more." After the
stranger's departure, Billy was seen pulling up grass
in the garden, with bare head, neck and shoulders,
while the rays of the burning sun appeared to melt
This process was repeated every few days for the
purpose of giving the slave the color that nature had
refused it. And yet, Mrs. Gaines was not consid-
ered a cruel woman, — indeed she was regarded as
a kind-feeling mistress. Billy, however, a few days
later, experienced a roasting far more severe than
the one he had got in the sun.
The morning was cool, and the breakfast table
was spread near the fireplace, where a newly-built
fire was blazing up. Mrs. Gaines, being seated near
enough to feel very sensibly the increasing flames,
ordered Billy to stand before her.
The lad at once complied. His thin clothing
6 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
giving him but little protection from the fire, the
boy soon began to make up faces and to twist and
move about, showing evident signs of suffering.
"What are you riggling about for?" asked the
mistress. "It burns me," replied the lad; "turn
round, then," said the mistress; and the slave com-
menced turning around, keeping it up till the lady
arose from the table.
Billy, however, was not entirely without his crumbs
of comfort. It was his duty to bring the hot biscuit
from the kitchen to the great house table w T hile the
whites were at meal. The boy would often watch
his opportunity, take a "cake" from the plate, and
conceal it in his pocket till breakfast was over, and
then enjoy his stolen gain. One morning Mrs.
Gaines, observing that the boy kept moving about
the room, after bringing in the "cakes," and also
seeing the little fellow's pocket sticking out rather
largely, and presuming that there was something hot
there, said, "Come here." The lad came up; she
pressed her hand against the hot pocket, which
caused the boy to jump back. Again the mistress
repeated, "Come here," and with the same result.
This, of course, set the whole room, servants and
all, in a roar. Again and again the boy w 7 as ordered
to "come up," which he did, each time jumping
back, until the heat of the biscuit was exhausted,
and then he was made to take it out and throw it
into the yard, where the geese seized it and held
a carnival over it. Billy was heartily laughed at
by his companions in the kitchen and the quarters,
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 7
and the large blister, caused by the hot biscuit,
created merriment among the slaves, rather than
sympathy for the lad.
Mrs. Gaines, being absent from home one day,
and the rest of the family out of the house, Billy
commenced playing with the shot-gun, which stood
in the corner of the room, and which the boy sup-
posed was unloaded ; upon a corner shelf , just above
the gun, stood a band-box, in which was neatly laid
away all of Mrs. Gaines' caps and cuffs, which, in
those days, were in great use. .
The gun having the flint lock, the boy amused
himself with bringing down the hammer and striking
fire. By this action powder was jarred into the pan,
and the gun, which was heavily charged with shott
was discharged, the contents passing through the
band-box of caps, cutting them literally to pieces
and scattering them over the floor.
Billy gathered up the fragments, put them in the
box and placed it upon the shelf, — he alone aware
of the accident.
A few days later, and Mrs. Gaines was expecting
company ; she called to Hannah to get her a clean
cap. The servant, in attempting to take down the
box, exclaimed : "Lor, misses, ef de rats ain't bin
at dees caps an' cut 'em all to pieces, jes look here."
With a degree of amazement not easily described
the mistress beheld the fragments as they were
emptied out upon the floor.
Just then a new idea struck Hannah, and she said :
"I lay anything dat gun has been shootin' off."
8 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
"Where is Billy? Where is Billy?" exclaimed
the mistress; "Where is Billy?" echoed Hannah;
fearing that the lady would go into convulsions, I
hastened out to look for the boy, but he was nowhere
to be found ; I returned only to find her weeping and
wringing her hands, exclaiming, "O, I am ruined, I
am ruined ; the company's coming and not a clean
cap about the house ; O, what shall I do, what shall
I tried to comfort her by suggesting that the ser-
vants might get one ready in time ; Billy soon made
his appearance, and looked on with wonderment;
and, when asked how he came to shoot off the gun,
declared that he knew nothing about it: and "ef de
gun went off, it was of its own accord." However,
the boy admitted the snapping of the lock or trigger.
A light whipping was all that he got, and for which
he was well repaid by having an opportunity of tell-
ing how the "caps flew about the room when de gun
Relating the event some time after in the quarters
he said: "I golly, you had aughty seen dem caps
fly, and de dust and smok' in de room. I thought
de judgment day had come, sure nuff." On the
arrival of the company, Mrs. Gaines made a very
presentable appearance, although the caps and laces
had been destroyed. One of the visitors on this
occasion was a young Mr. Sarpee, of St. Louis,
who, although above twenty-one years of age, had
never seen anything of country life, and, therefore,
was very anxious to remain over night, and go on a
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 9
coon hunt. Dr. Gaines, being lame, could not
accompany the gentleman, but sent Ike, Cato, and
Sam ; three of the most expert coon-hunters on the
farm. Night came, and off went the young man
and the boys on the coon hunt. The dogs scented
game, after being about half an hour in the woods,
to the great delight of Mr. Sarpee, who was armed
with a double barrel pistol, which, he said, he car-
ried both to " protect himself, and to shoot the
The halting of the boys and the quick, sharp
bark of the dogs announced that the game was
" treed," and the gentleman from the city pressed
forward with fond expectation of seeing the coon,
and using his pistol. However, the boys soon raised
the cry of "polecat, polecat ; get out de way" ; and
at the same time, retreating as if they were afraid
of an attack from the animal. Not so with Mr.
Sarpee; he stood his ground, with pistol in hand,
waiting to get a sight of the game. He was not
long in suspense, for the white and black spotted
creature soon made its appearance, at which the city
gentleman opened fire upon the skunk, which attack
was immediately answered by the animal, and in a
manner that caused the young man to wish that he,
too, had retreated with the boys. Such an odor, he
had never before inhaled ; and, what was worse, his
face, head, hands and clothing was covered with
the cause of the smell, and the gentleman, at once,
said: "Come, let's go home; I've got enough of
coon-hunting." But, didn't the boys enjoy the fun.
IO MY SOUTHERN HOME.
The return of the party home was the signal for a
hearty laugh, and all at the expense of the city gen-
tleman. So great and disagreeable was the smell,
that the young man had to go to the barn, where his
clothing was removed, and he submitted to the
process of washing by the servants. Soap, scrub-
bing brushes, towels, indeed, everything was brought
into requisition, but all to no purpose. The skunk
smell was there, and was likely to remain. Both
family and visitors were at the breakfast table, the
next morning, except Mr. Sarpee. He was still in
the barn, where he had slept the previous night.
Nor did there seem to be any hope that he would
be able to visit the house, for the smell was intoler-
able. The substitution of a suit of the Doctor's
clothes for his own failed to remedy the odor.
Dinkie, the conjurer, was called in. He looked
the young man over, shook his head in a knowing
manner, and said it was a big job. Mr. Sarpee
took out a Mexican silver dollar, handed it to the old
negro, and told him to do his best. Dinkie smiled,
and he thought that he could remove the smell.
His remedy was to dig a pit in the ground large
enough to hold the man, put him in it, and cover
him over with fresh earth ; consequently, Mr. Sarpee
was, after removing his entire clothing, buried, all
except his head, while his clothing was served in the
same manner. A servant held an umbrella over the
unhappy man, and fanned him during the eight
hours that he was there.
Taken out of the pit at six o'clock in the evening,
MY SOUTHERN HOME. II
all joined with Dinkie in the belief that Mr. Sarpee
"smelt sweeter," than when interred in the morning ;
still the smell of the "polecat" was there. Five
hours longer in the pit, the following day, with a
rub down by Dinkie, with his "Goopher," fitted the
young man for a return home to the city.
I never heard that Mr. Sarpee ever again joined
in a " coon hunt."
No description of mine, however, can give any-
thing like a correct idea of the great merriment of
the entire slave population on " Poplar Farm," caused
by the "coon hunt." Even Uncle Ned, the old
superannuated slave, who seldom went beyond the
confines of his own cabin, hobbled out, on this occa-
sion, to take a look at " de gentleman fum de city,"
while buried in the pit.
At night, in the quarters, the slaves had a merry
time over the " coon hunt."
"I golly, but didn't de polecat give him a big
dose?" said Ike.
" But how Mr. Sarpee did talk French to hissef
when de ole coon peppered him," remarked Cato.
"He won't go coon huntin' agin, soon, I bet you,"
"De coon hunt," and "de gemmen fum de city,"
was the talk for many days.
I HAVE already said that Dr. Gaines was a man
of deep religious feeling, and this interest was
not confined to the whites, for he felt that it was
the Christian duty to help to save all mankind, white
and black. He would often say, K I regard our
negroes as given to us by an All Wise Providence,
for their especial benefit, and we should impart to
them Christian civilization." And to this end, he
labored most faithfully. •
No matter how driving the work on the plantation,
whether seed-time or harvest, whether threatened
with rain or frost, nothing could prevent his having
the slaves all in at family prayers, night and morn-
ing. Moreover, the older servants were often invited
to take part in the exercises. They alwa}^s led the
singing, and, on Sabbath mornings, were permitted
to ask questions eliciting Scriptural explanations.
Of course, some of the questions and some of the
prayers were rather crude, and the effect, to an edu-
cated person, was rather to call forth laughter than
Leaving home one morning, for a visit to the city,
the Doctor ordered Jim, an old servant, to do some
mowing in the rye-field ; on his return, finding the
rye-field as he had left it in the morning, he called
Jim up, and severely flogged him without giving the
man an opportunity of telling why the work had
MY SOUTHERN HOME.
been neglected. On relating the circumstance at
the supper-table, the wife said, —
"I am very sorry that you whipped Jim, for I
LOLA, THE WHITE SLAVE. — Page 101.
took him to do some work in the garden, amongst
To this the Doctor replied, "Never mind, I'll make
it all right with Jim."
14 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
And sure enough he did, for that night, at prayers,
he said, "I am sorry, Jim, that I corrected you,
to-day, as your mistress tells me that she set you
to work in the flower-garden. Now, Jim," con-
tinued he, in a most feeling manner, "I always want
to do justice to my servants, and you know that I
never abuse any of you intentionally, and now, to-
night, I will let you lead in prayer."
Jim thankfully acknowledged the apology, and,
with grateful tears, and an overflowing heart, ac-
cepted the situation ; for Jim aspired to be a preacher,
like most colored men, and highly appreciated an
opportunity to show his persuasive powers ; and that
night the old man made splendid use of the liberty
granted to him. After praying for everything gen-
erally, and telling the Lord what a great sinner he
himself was, he said, —
"Now, Lord, I would specially ax you to try to
save marster. You knows dat marster thinks he's
mighty good ; you knows dat marster says he's
gwine to heaven ; but Lord, I have my doubts ; an'
yet I want marster saved. Please to convert him
over agin ; take him, dear Lord, by de nap of de
neck, and shake him over hell and show him his
condition. But, Lord, don't let him fall into hell,
jes let him see whar he ought to go to, but don't let
him go dar. An' now, Lord, ef you jes save
marster, I will give you de glory."
The indignation expressed by the doctor, at the
close of Jim's prayer, told the old negro that for
once he had overstepped the mark. K What do you
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 5
mean, Jim, by insulting me in that manner? Ask-
ing the Lord to convert me over again. And pray-
ing that I might be shaken over hell. I have a great
mind to tie you up, and give you a good correcting.
If you ever make another such a prayer, I'll whip
you well, that I will."
Dr. Gaines felt so intensely the duty of masters to
their slaves that he, with some of his neighbors, in-
augurated a religious movement, whereby the blacks
at the Corners could have preaching once a fortnight,
and that, too, by an educated white man. Rev. John
Mason, the man selected for this work, was a heavy-
set, fleshy, lazy man who, when entering a house,
sought the nearest chair, taking possession of it,
and holding it to the last.
He had been employed many years as a col-
porteur or missionary, sometimes preaching to the
poor whites, and, at other times, to the slaves,
for which service he was compensated either by
planters, or by the dominant religious denomina-
tion in the section where he labored. Mr. Mason
had carefully studied the character of the people
to whom he was called to preach, and took every
opportunity to shirk his duties, and to throw them
upon some of the slaves, a large number of whom
were always ready and willing to exhort when called
We shall never forget his first sermon, and the
profound sensation that it created both amongst
masters and slaves, and especially the latter. After
taking for his text, " He that knoweth his master's
1 6 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many
stripes," he spoke substantially as follows : —
"Now when correction is given you, you either de-
serve it, 0¥ you do not deserve it. But whether you
really deserve it or not, it is your duty, and Almighty
God requires that you bear it patiently. You may,
perhaps, think that this is hard doctrine, but if you
consider it right you must needs think otherwise of it.
Suppose then, that you deserve correction, you can-
not but say that it is just and right you should meet
with it. Suppose you do not, or at least you do
not deserve so much, or so severe a correction for
the fault you have committed, you, perhaps, have
escaped a great many more, and are at last paid for
all. Or suppose you are quite innocent of what is
laid to your charge, and suffer wrongfully in that
particular thing, is it not possible you may have
done some other bad thing which was never discov-
ered, and that Almighty God, who saw you doing it,
would not let you escape without punishment one
time or another? And ought you not, in such
a case, to give glory to Him, and be thankful that
he would rather punish you in this life for your
wickedness, than destroy your souls for it in the
next life ? But suppose that even this was not the
case (a case hardly to be imagined), and that you
have by no means, known or unknow T n, deserved
the correction you suffered, there is this great com-
fort in it, that if you bear it patiently, and leave
your cause in the hands of God, he will reward you
for it in heaven, and the punishment you suffer
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 7
unjustly here, shall turn to your exceeding great
At this point, the preacher hesitated a moment,
and^then continued, "I am now going to give you a
description of hell, that awful place, that you will
surely go to, if you don't be good and faithful
" Hell is a great pit, more than two hundred feet
deep, and is walled up with stone, having a strong,
iron grating at the top. The tire is built of pitch
pine knots, tar barrels, lard kegs, and butter firkins.
One of the devil's imps appears twice a day, and
throws about half a bushel of brimstone on the fire,
which is never allowed to cease burning. As sin-
ners die they are pitched headlong into the pit, and
are at once taken up upon the pitchforks by the devil's
imps, who stand, with glaring eyes and smiling
countenances, ready to do their master's work."
Here the speaker was disturbed by the " Amens,"
"Bless God, I'll keep out of hell," "Dat's my senti-
ments," which plainly told him that he had struck
the right key.
"Now," continued the preacher, "I will tell you
where heaven is, and how you are to obtain a place
there. Heaven is above the skies; its streets are
paved with gold ; seraphs and angels will furnish
you with music which never ceases. You will all be
permitted to join in the singing and you will be fed
on manna and honey, and you will drink from foun-
tains, and will ride in golden chariots."
K I am bound for hebben," ejaculated one.
1 8 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
"Yes, blessed God, hebben will be my happy
home," said another.
These outbursts of feeling were followed, while
the man of God stood with folded arms, en joying
the sensation that his eloquence had created.
After pausing a moment or two, the reverend man
continued, "Are there any of you here who would
rather burn in hell than rest in heaven ? Remember
that once in hell you can never get out. If you
attempt to escape little devils are stationed at the
top of the pit, who will, with their pitchforks, toss
you back into the pit, curchunk, where you must
remain forever. But once in heaven, you will be free
the balance of your days." Here the wildest enthus-
iasm showed itself, amidst which the preacher took
A rather humorous incident now occurred which
created no little merriment amongst the blacks, and
to the somewhat discomfiture of Dr. Gaines, — who
occupied a seat with the whites who were present.
Looking about the room, being unacquainted with
the negroes, and presuming that all or nearly so
were experimentally interested in religion, Mr.
Mason called on Ike to close with prayer. The
very announcement of Ike's name in such a connec-
tion called forth a broad grin from the larger portion
of the audience.
Now, it so happened that Ike not only made no
profession of religion, but was in reality the farthest
off from the church of any of the servants at "Poplar
Farm"; yet Ike was equal to the occasion, and at
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 9
once responded, to the great amazement of his
Ike had been, from early boyhood, an attendant
upon whites, and he had learned to speak correctly
for an uneducated person. He was pretty well versed
in Scripture and had learned the principal prayer
that his master was accustomed to make, and would
often get his fellow-servants together at the barn on
a rainy day and give them the prayer, with such
additions and improvements as the occasion might
suggest. Therefore, when called upon by Mr.
Mason, Ike at once said, "Let us pray."
After floundering about for a while, as if feeling
his way, the new beginner struck out on the well-
committed prayer, and soon elicited a loud "amen,"
and "bless God for that," from Mr. Mason, and to
the great amusement of the blacks. In his eager-
ness, however, to make a grand impression, Ike
attempted to weave into his prayer some poetry on
"Cock Robin," which he had learned, and which
nearly spoiled his maiden prayer.
After the close of the meeting, the Doctor invited
the preacher to remain over night, and accepting the
invitation, we in the great house had an opportunity
of learning more of the reverend man's religious
When comfortably seated in the parlor, the Doctor
said, "I was well pleased with your discourse, I
think the tendency will be good upon the servants."
" Yes," responded the minister, " The negro is
eminently a religious being, more so, I think, than
20 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
the white race. He is emotional, loves music, is
wonderfully gifted with gab ; the organ of alimenta-
tiveness largely developed, and is fond of approba-
tion. I therefore try always to satisfy their vanity ;
call upon them to speak, sing, and pray, and some-
times to preach. That suits for this world. Then
I give them a heaven with music in it, and with
something to eat. Heaven without singing and food
would be no place for the negro. In the cities,
where many of them are free, and have control of
their own time, they are always late to church meet-
ings, lectures, or almost anything else. But let
there be a festival or supper announced and they
are all there on time."
"But did you know," said Dr. Gaines, "that the
prayer that Ike made to-day he learned from me ? "
" Indeed ? " responded the minister.
"Yes, that boy has the imitative power of his
race in a larger degree than most negroes that I
have seen. He remembers nearly everything that
he hears, is full of wit, and has most excellent judg-
ment. However, his dovetailing the Cock Robin
poetry into my prayer was too much, and I had to
laugh at his adroitness."
The Doctor was much pleased with the minister,
but Mrs. Gaines was not. She had great contempt
for professional men who sprung from the lower
class, and she regarded Mr. Mason as one to be
endured but not encouraged. The Rev. Henry
Pinchen was her highest idea of a clergyman. This
gentleman was then expected in the neighborhood,
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 21
and she made special reference to the fact, to her
husband, when speaking of the "negro missionary, "
as she was wont to call the new-comer.
The preparation made, a few days later, for the
reception of Mrs. Gaines' favorite spiritual adviser,
showed plainly that a religious feast was near at
hand, and in which the lady was to play a conspicu-
ous part ; and whether her husband was prepared to
enter into the eujoyment or not, he would have to
tolerate considerable noise and bustle for a week.
"Go, Hannah," said Mrs. Gaines, "and tell Dolly
to kill a couple of fat pullets, and to put the biscuit
to rise. I expect Brother Pinchen here this after-
noon, and I want everything in order. Hannah,
Hannah, tell Melinda to come here. We mistresses
do have a hard time in this world ; I don't see why
the Lord should have imposed such heavy duties on
us poor mortals. Well, it can't last always. I long
to leave this wicked world, and go home to glory."
At the hurried appearance of the waiting maid
the mistress said : " I am to have company this after-
noon, Melinda. I expect Brother Pinchen here, and
I want everything in order. Go and get one of my
new caps, with the lace border, and get out my
scolloped-bottomed dimity petticoat, and when you
go out, tell Hannah to clean the white-handled
knives, and see that not a speck is on them ; for
I want everything as it should be while Brother
Pinchen is here."
Mr. Pinchen was possessed with a large share of
the superstition that prevails throughout the South,
22 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
not only with the ignorant negro, who brought it
with hira from his native land, but also by a great
number of well educated and influential whites.
On the first afternoon of the reverend gentleman's
visit, 1 listened with great interest to the following
conversation between Mrs. Gaines and her ministe-
"Now, Brother Piuchen, do give me some of your
experience since you were last here. It always does
my soul good to hear religious experience. It draws
me nearer and nearer to the Lord's side. I do love
to hear good news from God's people."
"Well, Sister Gaines," said the preacher, "I've
had great opportunities in my time to study the
heart of man. I've attended a great many camp-
meetings, revival meetings, protracted meetings,
and death-bed scenes, and I am satisfied, Sister
Gaines, that the heart of man is full of sin, and
desperately wicked. This is a wicked world, Sister
Gaines, a wicked world."
" Were you ever in Arkansas, Brother Pinchen ? "
inquired Mrs. Gaines ; "I've been told that the
people ont there are very ungodly."
Mr. P. "Oh, yes, Sister Gaines. I once spent
a year at Little Kock, and preached in all the towns
round about there ; and I found some hard cases out
there, I can tell you. I was once spending a week
in a district where there were a great many horse
thieves, and, one night, somebody stole my pony.
Well, I knowed it was no use to make a fuss, so I
told Brother Tarbox to say nothing about it, and I'd
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 23
get my horse by preaching God's everlasting gospel ;
for I had faith in the truth, and knowed that my
Saviour would not let me lose my pony. So the
next Sunday I preached on horse-stealing, and told
the brethren to come up in the even in' with their
hearts filled with the grace of God. So that night
the house was crammed brimfull with anxious souls,
panting for the bread of life. Brother Bingham
opened with prayer, and Brother Tarbox followed,
and I saw right off that we were gwine to have a
blessed time. After I got 'em pretty well warmed
up, I jumped on to one of the seats, stretched out
my hands' and said : ( I know who stole my pony;
I've found out ; and you are in here tryin' to make
people believe that you've got religion ; but you
ain't got it. And if you don't take my horse back
to Brother Tarbox's pasture this very night, I'll tell
your name right out in meetin' to-morrow night.
Take my pony back, you vile and wretched sinner,
and come up here and give your heart to God.' So
the next mornin', I went out to Brother Tarbox's
pasture, and sure enough, there was my bob-tail
pony. Yes, Sister Gaines, there he was, safe and
sound. Ha, ha, ha ! "
Mrs. G. f *Oh, how interesting, and how fortunate
for you to get your pony ! And what power there
is in the gospel ! God's children are very lucky.
Oh, it is so sweet to sit here and listen to such good
news from God's people ? [Aside. ~] ' You Hannah,
what are you standing there listening for, and neg-
lecting your work? Never mind, my lady, I'll whip
24 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
you well when I am done here.. Go at your work
this moment, you lazy huzzy ! Never mind, I'll
whip you well.' Come, do go on, Brother Pinchen,
with your godly conversation. It is so sweet! It
draws me nearer and nearer to the Lord's side."
Mr. P. "Well, Sister Gaines, I've had some
mighty queer dreams in my time, that I have. You
see, one night I dreamed that I was dead and in
heaven, and such a place I never saw before. As
soon as I entered the gates of the celestial empire, I
saw many old and familiar faces that I had seen
before. The first person that I saw was good old
Elder Pike, the preacher that first called my atten-
tion to religion. The next person I saw was Deacon
Billings, my first wife's father, and then I saw a host
of godly faces. Why, Sister Gaines, you knowed
Elder Goosbee, didn't you?"
Mrs.G. " Why , yes ; did you see him there ? He
married me to my first husband."
Mr. P. "Oh, yes, Sister Gaines, I saw the old
Elder, and he looked for all the world as if he had
just come out of a revival meetin'."
Mrs. G. "Did you see my first husband there,
Brother Pinchen ? "
Mr. P. "No, Sister Gaines, I didn't see Brother
Pepper there ; but I've no doubt but that Brother
Pepper was there."
Mrs. G. " Well, I don't know ; I have my doubts.
He was not the happiest man in the world. He was
always borrowing trouble about something or an-
other. Still, I saw some happy moments with Mr.
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 2$
Pepper. I was happy when I made his acquaintance,
happy during our courtship, happy a while after our
marriage, and happy when he died." r Weeps.']
Hannah. "Massa Pinchen, did you see my ole
man Ben up dar in hebben ? "
L Mr. P. "No, Hannah, I didn't go amongst the
Mrs. G. "No, of course Brother Pinchen didn't
go among the blacks. What are you asking ques-
tions for? [Aside.] 'Never mind, my lady, I'll
whip you well when I'm done here. I'll skin you
from head to foot.' Do go on with your heavenly
conversation, Brother Pinchen ; it does my very soul
good. This is indeed a precious moment for me.
I do love to hear of Christ and Him crucified."
Mr. P. "Well, Sister Gaines, I promised Sister
Daniels that I'd come over and see her a few
moments this evening, and have a little season of
prayer with her, and I suppose I must go."
Mrs. G. "If you must go, then I'll have to let you ;
but before you do, I wish to get your advice upon a
little matter that concerns Hannah. Last week
Hannah stole a goose, killed it, cooked it, and she
and her man Sam had a fine time eating the goose ;
and her master and I would never have known any-
thing about it if it had not been for Cato, a faithful
servant, who told his master all about it. And then,
you see, Hannah had to be severely whipped before
she'd confess that she stole the goose. Next Sab-
bath is. sacrament day, and I want to know if you
26 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
think that Hannah is fit to go to the Lord's Supper,
after stealing the goose."
"Well, Sister Gaines," responded the minister,
"that depends on circumstances. If Hannah has
confessed that she stole the goose, and has been
sufficiently whipped, and has begged her master's
pardon, and begged your pardon, and thinks she
will not do the like again, why then I suppose she
can go to the Lord's Supper ; for —
1 While the lamp holds out to burn,
The vilest sinner may return.'
But she must be sure that she has repented, and
won't steal any more."
"Do you hear that, Hannah?" said the mistress.
"For my part," continued she, "I don't think she's
fit to go to the Lord's Supper ; for she had no cause
to steal the goose. We give our servants plentj^ of
good food. They have a full run to the meal-tub,
meat once a fortnight, and all the sour milk on the
place, and I am sure that's enough for any one. I
do think that our negroes are the most ungrateful
creatures in the world. They aggravate my life out
During this talk on the part of the mistress, the
servant stood listening with careful attention, and
at its close Hannah said : —
"I know, missis, dat I stole de goose, an' massa
whip me for it, an' I confess it, an' I is sorry for it.
Put, missis, I is gwine to de Lord's Supper, next
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 2J
Sunday, kase I ain't agwine to turn my back on my
bressed Lord an' Massa for no old tough goose, dat
I ain't." And here the servant wept as if she would
break her heart.
Mr. Pinchen, who seemed moved by Hannah's
words, gave a sympathizing look at the negress, and
said, "Well, Sister Gaines, I suppose I must go
over and see Sister Daniels ; shell be waiting for
After seeing the divine out, Mrs. Gaines said,
"Now, Hannah, Brother Pinchen is gone, do you
get the cowhide and follow me to the cellar, and
I'll whip you well for aggravating me as you have
to-day. It seems as if I can never sit down to take
a little comfort with the Lord, without you crossing
me. The devil always puts it into your head to
disturb me, just when I am trying to serve the Lord.
I've no doubt but that I'll miss going to heaven on
your account. But I'll whip you well before I leave
this world, that I will. Get the cowhide and follow
me to the cellar."
In a few minutes the lady returned to the parlor,
followed by the servant whom she had been correct-
ing, and she was in a high state of perspiration,
and, on taking a seat, said, "Get the fan, Hannah,
and fan me ; you ought to be ashamed of yourself
to put me into such a passion, and cause me to heat
myself up in this way, whipping you. You know
that it is a great deal harder for me than it is for
you. I have to exert myself, and it puts me all in
a fever; while you have only to stand and take it."
28 • MY SOUTHERN HOME.
On the following Sabbath, — it being Communion,
— Mr. Pinchen officiated. The church being at the
Corners, a mile or so from "Poplar Farm," the
Communion wine, which was kept at the Doctor's,
was sent over by the boy, Billy. It happened to be
in the month of April, when the maple trees had
been tapped, and the sap freely running.
Billy, while passing through the "sugar camp," or
sap bush, stopped to take a drink of the sap, which
looked inviting in the newly-made troughs. All at
once it occurred to the lad that he could take a
drink of the wine, and fill it up with sap. So,
acting upon this thought, the youngster put the
decanter to his mouth, and drank freely, lowering
the beverage considerably in the bottle.
But filling the bottle with the sap was much more
easily contemplated than done. For, at every at-
tempt, the water would fall over the sides, none going
in. However, the boy, with the fertile imagination
of his race, soon conceived the idea of sucking his
mouth full of the sap, and then squirting it into the
bottle. This plan succeeded admirably, and the
slave boy sat in the church gallery that day, and
wondered if the communicants would have partaken
so freely of the wine, if they had known that his
mouth had beeu the funnel through which a portion
of it had passed.
Slavery has had the effect of brightening the
mental powers of the negro to a certain extent,
especially those brought into close contact with the
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 2g
It is also a fact, that these blacks felt that when
they could get the advantage of their owners, they
had a perfect right to do so ; and the boy, Billy, no
doubt, entertained a consciousness that he had done
a very cunning thing in thus drinking the wine
entrusted to his care.
DR. GAINES' practice being confined to the
planters and their negroes, in the neighbor-
hood of "Poplar Farm," caused his income to be
very limited from that source, and consequently he
looked more to the products of his plantation for
support. True, the new store at the Corners, to-
gether with McWilliams' Tannery and Simpson's
Distillery, promised an increase of population, and,
therefore, more work for the physician. This was
demonstrated very clearly by the Doctor's coming
in one morning somewhat elated, and exclaiming :
"Well, my dear, my practice is steadily increasing.
I forgot to tell you that neighbor Wyman engaged
me yesterday as his family physician ; and I hope
that the fever and ague, which is now taking hold
of the people, will give me more patients. I see by
the New Orleans papers that the yellow fever is
raging there to a fearful extent. Men of my pro-
fession are reaping a harvest in that section this
30 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
year. I would that we could have a touch of the
yellow fever here, for I think I could invent a medi-
cine that would cure it. But the yellow fever is a
luxury that we medical men in this climate can't
expect to enjoy ; yet we may hope for the cholera."
"Yes," replied Mrs. Gaines, "I would be glad to
see it more sickly, so that your business might pros-
per. But we are always unfortunate. Everybody
here seems to be in good health, and lam afraid
they'll keep so. However, we must hope for the best.
We must trust in the Lord. Providence may possibly
send some disease amongst us for our benefit."
On going to the office the Doctor found the faithful
servant hard at work, and saluting him in his usual
kind and indulgent manner, asked, " Well, Cato,
have you made the batch of ointment that I
ordered ? "
Cato. "Yes, massa; I dun made de intment, an'
now I is making the bread pills. De tater pills is
up on the top shelf."
Dr. G. "I am going out to see some patients. If
any gentlemen call, tell them I shall be in this after-
noon. If any servants come, you attend to them.
I expect two of Mr. Campbell's boys over. You
see to them. Feel their pulse, look at their tongues,
bleed them, and give them each a dose of calomel.
Tell them to drink no cold water, and to take
nothing but water gruel."
Cato. "Yes, massa; I'll tend to 'em."
The negro now said, "I allers knowed I was a
doctor, an' now de ole boss has put me at it ; I
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 3 1
inuss change my coat. Ef any niggers comes in, I
wants to look suspectable. Dis jacket don't suit a
doctor; I'll change it,"
Cato's vanity seemed at this point to be at its
height, and having changed his coat, he walked up
and down before the mirror, and viewed himself to
his heart's content, and saying to himself, "Ah ! now
I looks like a doctor. Now I can bleed, pull teef,
or cut off a leg. Oh, well, well ! ef I ain't put de
pill stuff an' de intment stuff togedder. By golly,
dat ole cuss will be mad when he finds it out, won't
he? Nebber mind, I'll make it up in pills, and when
de flour is on dem, he won't know what's in' em ;
an' I'll make some new intment. Ah ! yonder comes
Mr. Campbell's Pete an' Ned ; dem's de ones massa
sed was comin'. I'll see ef I looks right. [Goes to
the looking-glass and views himself.'] I 'em some
punkins, ain't I? [Knock at the door.] Come in."
Enter Pete and Ned.
Pete. " Whar is de Doctor? "
Cato. " Here I is ; don't you see me ? "
Pete. " But whar is de ole boss ? "
Cato. "Dat's none you business. I dun tole you
dat I is de doctor, an' dat's enuff."
Ned. "Oh, do tell us whar de Doctor is. I is
almos' dead. Oh, me ! oh, dear me ! I is so sick."
[Horrible faces . ]
Pete. "Yes, do tell us; we don't want to stan'
Cato. "I tells you again dat I is de doctor. I
larn de trade under massa. "
32 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
Ned. M Oh ! well den ; givejne somethin' to stop
dis pain. Oh, dear me ! I shall die.",
Cato. "Let me feel your pulse. Now, put out
your tongue. You is berry sick. Ef you don't
mine, you'll die. Come out in de shed, an' I'll*
bleed you. [Talcing them out and bleeding them.']
"Dar, now, take dese pills, two in de mornin', and
two at night, and ef you don't feel better, double de
dose. Now, Mr. Pete, what's de matter wid you?"
Pete. "I is got de cole chills, an' has a fever in
" Come out in de shed, an' I'll bleed you," said
Cato, at the same time viewing himself in the mirror,
as he passed out. After taking a quart of blood,
which caused the patient to faint, they returned, the
black doctor saying, "Now, take dese pills, two in
de mornin', and two at night, an' ef dey don't help
you, double de dose. Ah ! I like to forget to feel
your pulse, and look at your tongue. Put out your
tongue. \_Feels his pulse.] Yes, I tells by de feel
ob your pulse dat I is gib you de right pills?"
Just then, Mr. Parker's negro boy Bill, with his
hand up to his mouth, and evidently in great pain,
entered the office without giving the usual knock at
the door, and which gave great offence to the new
" What you come in dat door widout knockin'
for?" exclaimed Cato.
Bill. " My toof ache so, I didn't tink to knock.
Oh, my toof! my toof! Whar is de Doctor?"
Cato. " Here I is ; don't you see me ? "
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 33
Bill. " What ! you de Doctor, you brack cuss !
You looks like a doctor! Oh, my toof! my toof!
Whar is de Doctor?."
Cato. " I tells you I is de doctor. Ef you don't
believe me, ax dese men. I can pull your toof in a
Bill. " Well, den, pull it out. Oh, my toof! how
it aches! Oh, my toof!" [Cato gets the rusty
Cato. " Now lay down on your back."
Bill. "What for?"
Cato. "Dat's de way massa does."
Bill. "Oh, my toof! Well, den, come on."
[Lies down. Cato gets astraddle of BilVs breast,
puts the turnkeys on the wrong tooth, and pulls —
Bill kicks, and cries out] — Oh, do stop ! Oh, oh,
oh ! [Cato pulls the wrong tooth — Bill jumps up.]
Cato. "Dar, now, I tole you I could pull your
toof for you."
Bill. Oh, dear me ! Oh, it aches yet ! Oh, me !
Oh, Lor-e-massy ! You dun pull de wrong toof.
Drat your skin! ef I don't pay you for this, you
brack cuss ! [ They fight, and turn over table, chairs,
and bench — Bete and Ned look on.]
During the melee, Dr. Gaines entered the office,
and unceremoniously went at them with his
cane, giving both a sound drubbing before any
explanation could be offered. As soon as he
could get an opportunity, Cato said, "Oh, massa!
he's to blame, sir, he's to blame. He struck me
MY SOUTHERN HOME.
Bill. "No, sir; he's to blame; he pull de wrong
toof. Oh, my toof ! oh, my toof ! "
Dr. G. "Let me see your .tooth. Open your
mouth. As I live, you've taken out the wrong
tooth. I am amazed. I'll whip you for this ; I'll
whip you well. You're a pretty doctor. Now, lie
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 35
down, Bill, and let him take out the right tooth;
and if he makes a mistake this time, I'll cowhide
him well. Lie down, Bill." [Bill lies doivn, and
Cato pulls the tooth.'] w There, now, why didn't you
do that in the first place?"
Cato. "He wouldn't hole still, sir."
Bill. "I did hole still."
Dr. G. "Now go home, boys ; go home."
"You've made a pretty muss of it, in my absence,"
said the Doctor. " Look at the table ! Never mind,
Cato ; I'll whip you well for this conduct of yours
to-day. Go to work now, and clear up the office."
As the office door closed behind the master, the
irritated negro, once more left to himself, exclaimed,
"Confound dat nigger! I wish he was in Ginuy.
He bite mj finger, and scratch my face. But didn't
I give it to him? Well, den, I reckon I did. [He
goes to the mirror, and discovers that his coat is torn
— weeps.] Oh, dear me ! Oh, my coat — my coat
is tore ! Dat nigger has tore my coat. [He gets
angry, and rushes about the room frantic.'] Cuss
dat nigger ! Ef I could lay my hands on him, I'd
tare him all to pieces, — dat I would. An' de old
boss hit me wid his cane after dat nigger tore my
coat. By golly, I wants to fight somebody. Ef
ole massa should come in now, I'd fight him. [Bolls
up his sleeves.] Let 'em come now, ef dey dare —
ole massa, or anybody else ; I'm ready for 'em."
Just then the Doctor returned and asked, " What's
all this noise here ? "
Cato. "Nuffin', sir; only jess I is puttin' things
2,6 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
to rights, as you tole me. I didn't hear any noise,
except de rats."
Dr. G. "Make haste, and come in; I want you
to go to town."
Once more left alone, the witty black said, "By
golly, de ole boss like to cotch me dat time, didn't
he? But wasn't I mad? When I is mad, nobody
can do nuffin' wid me. But here's my coat tore to
pieces. Cuss dat nigger ! [ Weeps.'] Oh, my coat !
oh, my coat ! I rudder he had broke my head, den
to tore my coat. Drat dat nigger ! Ef he ever comes
here agin, I'll pull out every toof he's got in his
head — dat I will."
DURING the palmy days of the South, forty
years ago, if there was one class more thor-
oughly despised than another, by the high-born,
well-educated Southerner, it was the slave-trader
who made his money by dealing in human cattle.
A large number of the slave-traders were men of
the North or free States, generally from the lower
order, who, getting a little money by their own
hard toil, invested it in slaves purchased in Virginia,
Maryland, or Kentucky, and sold them in the cotton,
sugar, or rice-growing States. And yet the high-
bred planter, through mismanagement, or other
causes, was compelled to sell his slaves, or some of
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 37
them, at auction, or to let the "soul-buyer" have
Dr. Gaines' financial affairs being in an unfavor-
able condition, he yielded to the offers of a noted
St. Louis trader by the name of Walker. This
man was the terror of the whole South-west amongst
the black population, bond and free, — for it was not
unfrequently that even free colored persons were
kidnapped and carried to the far South and sold.
Walker had no conscientious scruples, for money
was his God, and he worshipped at no other altar.
An uncouth, ill-bred, hard-hearted man, with no
education, Walker had started at St. Louis as a
dray-driver, and ended as a wealthy slave-trader.
The day was set for this man to oome and purchase
his stock, on which occasion, Mr§. Gaines absented
herself from the place ; and even the Doctor,
although alone, felt deeply the humiliation. For
myself, I sat and bit my lips with anger, as the
vulgar trader said to the faithful man, —
"Well, my boy, what's your name?"
Sam. "Sam, sir, is my name.
Walk. "How old are you, Sam?"
Sam. "Ef I live to see next corn plantin' time
I'll be twenty-seven, or thirty, or thirtj'-five, — I
don't know which, sir." '
Walk. "Ha, ha, ha ! Well, Doctor, this is rather
a green boy. Well, mer feller, are you sound?"
Sam. "Yes, sir, I spec I is."
Walk* "Open your mouth and let me see your
teeth. I allers ^Judge a nigger's age by his teeth,
38 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
same as 1 dose a hoss. Ah ! pretty good set of
grinders. Have you got a good appetite?"
Sam. "Yes, sir."
Walk. " Can you eat your allowance ? "
Sam. "Yes, sir, when I can get it."
Walk. " Get out on the floor and dance ; I want
to see if you are supple."
Sam. "I don't like to dance ; I is got religion."
Walk. "Oh, ho! you've got religion, have you?
That's so much the better. I likes to deal in the
gospel. I think he'll suit me. Now, mer gal,
what's your name?"
Sally. "I is Big Sally, sir."
Walk. "How old are you, Sally?"
Sally. "I don't know, sir; but I heard once dat
I was born at sweet pertater diggin' time."
Walk. "Ha, ha, ha! Don't you know how old
you are? Do you know who made you?"
Sally. "I hev heard who it was in de Bible dat
made me, but I dunforget de gentman's name."
Walk. "Ha, ha, ha! Well, Doctor, this is
the greenest lot of niggers I've seen for some
The last remark struck the Doctor deeply, for he
had just taken Sally for debt, and, therefore, he was
not responsible for her ignorance. And he frankly
told him so.
"This is an unpleasant business for me, Mr.
Walker," said the Doctor, " but you may have Sam
for $1,000, and Sally for $900. They are worth all
I ask for them. I never banter, Mr. Walker.
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 39
There they are ; you can take them at that price,
or let them alone, just as you please."
Walk. " Well, Doctor, I reckon I'll take 'em ;
but it's all they are worth. I'll put the handcuffs
on 'em, and then I'll pay you. I likes to go accor-
din' to Scripter. Scripter says ef eatin' meat will
offend your brother, you must quit it ; and I say
ef leavin' your slaves without the handcuffs will
make 'em run away, you must put the handcuffs
on 'em. Now, Sam, don't you and Sally cry. I am
of a tender heart, and it allers makes me feel bad
to see people cry in'. Don't cry, and the first place
I get to, I'll buy each of you a great big ginger cake,
—that I will."
And with the last remark the trader took from a
small satchel two pairs of handcuffs, putting them
on, and with a laugh said: "Now, you look better
with the ornaments on."
Just then, the Doctor remarked, — "There comes
Mr. Pinchen." Walker, looking out and seeing the
man of God, said: "It is Mr. Pinchen, as- I live;
jest the very man I wants to see." And as the rev-
erend gentleman entered, the trader grasped his
hand, saying : "Why, how do you do, Mr. Pinchen?
What in the name of Jehu brings you down here to
Muddy Creek? Any camp-meetins, revival meetins,
death-bed scenes, or anything else in your line going
on down here? How is religion prosperin' now,
Mr. Pinchen? I always like to hear about religion.
Mr. Pin. "Well, Mr. Walker, the Lord's work
is in good condition everywhere now. I tell you,
MY SOUTHERN HOME.
Mr. Walker, I've been in the gospel ministry these
thirteen years, and I am satisfied that the heart of
man is full of sin and desperately wicked. This is
a wicked world, Mr. Walker, a wicked world, and
we ought all of us to have religion. Eeligion is a
good thing to live by, and we all want it when we
die. Yes, sir, when the great trumpet blows, we
ought to be ready. And a man in your business of
REV. HENRY PTNCHEN.
buying and selling slaves needs religion more than
anybody else, for it makes you treat your people as
you should. Now, there is Mr. Haskins, — he is a
slave-trader, like yourself. Well, I converted him.
Before he got religion, he was one of the worst men
to his niggers I ever saw ; his heart was as hard as
stone. But religion has made bis heart as soft as
a piece of cotton. Before I converted him he would
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 41
sell husbands from their wives, and seem to take
delight in it ; but now he won't sell a man from his
wife, if he can get any one to buy both of them
together. I tell you, sir, religion has done a won-
derful work for him."
Walk. "I know, Mr. Pincheu, that I ought to
have religion, and I feel that I am a great sinner;
and whenever I get With good pious people like you
and the Doctor, it always makes me feel that I am a
desperate sinner. I feel it the more, because I've
got a religious turn of mind. I know that I would
be happier with religion, and the first spare time
I get, I am going to try to get it. I'll go to
a protracted meeting, and I won't stop till I get re-
The departure of the trader with his property left
a sadness even amongst the white members of the
family, and special sympathy was felt for Hannah
for the loss of her husband by the sale. However,
Mrs. Gaines took it coolly, for as Sam was a field
hand, she had often said she wanted her to have one
of the house servants, and as Cato was without a
wife, this seemed to favor her plans. Therefore, a
week later, as Hannah entered the sitting-room one
evening, she said to her: — "You need not tell me,
Hannah, that you don't want another husband, I know
better. Your master has sold Sam, and he's gone
down the river, and you'll never see him again. So
go and put on your calico dress, and meet me in the
kitchen. I intend for you to jump the broomstick
with Cato. You need not tell me you don't want
42 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
another man. I know there's no woman living that
can be happy and satisfied without a husband."
Hannah said : K Oh, missis, I don't want to jump
de broomstick wid Cato. I don't love Cato ; I can't
Mrs. G. "Shut up, this moment! What do you
know about love? I didn't love your master when
I married him, and people don*t marry for love now.
So go and put on your calico dress, and meet me in
As the servant left for the kitchen, the mistress
remarked: "I am glad that* the Doctor has sold
Sam, for now I'll have her marry Cato, and I'll have
them both in the house under my eyes."
As Hannah entered the kitchen, she said : "Oh,
Cato, do go and tell missis dat you don't want to
jump de broomstick wid me, — dat's a good man.
Do, Cato ; kase I nebber can love you. It was only
las week dat massa sold my Sammy, and I don't
want any udder man. Do go tell missis dat you
don't want me." To which Cato replied: "No,
Hannah, I ain't a-gwine to tell missis no such thing,
kase I does want you, and I ain't a-gwine to tell a
lie for you ner nobody else. Dar, now you's got it !
I don't see why you need to make so much fuss.
I is better lookin' den Sam ; an' I is a house servant,
an' Sam was only a fiel hand ; so you ought to feel
proud of a change. So go and do as missis tells
As the woman retired, the man continued : "Han-
nah needn't try to get me to tell a lie ; I ain't a-gwine
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 43
to do it, kase I dose want her, an' I is bin wantin'
her dis long time, air soon as massa sold Sam, I
knowed I would get her. By golly, I is gwine to
be a married man. Won't I be happy? Now, ef I
could only jess run away from ole massa, an' get to
Canada wid Hannah, den I'd show 'em who I was.
Ah ! dat reminds me of my song 'bout ole massa
and Canada, an' I'll sing it. Dis is my moriginal
hyme. It corned into my head one night when I was
fass asleep under an apple tree, looking up at de
While Hannah was getting ready for the nuptials,
Cato amused himself by singing —
De happiest da}^ I ever did see,
I'm bound fer my heavenly home,
When missis give Hannah to me,
Through heaven dis chile will roam.
Chorus. — Go away, Sam, you can't come a-nigh me,
Gwine to meet my Mens in hebben,
Hannah is gwine along ;
Missis ses Hannah is mine,
So Hannah is gwine along.
Father Gabriel, blow your horn,
I'll take wings and fly away,
Take Hannah up in the early morn,
An' I'll be in hebben by de break of day.
Chorus. — Go away, Sam, you can't come a-nigh me,
Gwine to meet my friens in hebben,
Hannah is gwine along ;
Missis ses Hannah is mine,
So Hannah is gwine along.
44 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
Mrs. Gaines, as she approached the kitchen, heard
the servant's musical voice and knew that he was in
high glee; entering, she said, "Ah! Cato, you're
ready, are you? Where is Hannah? "
Cato. " Yes, missis ; I is bin waitin' dis long time.
Hannah has bin here tryin' to swade me to tell you
dat I don't want her ; but I telled her dat you sed I
must jump de broomstick wid her, an' I is gwine to
Mrs. G. "That's right, Cato ; servants should
always mind their masters and mistresses, without
asking a question."
Cato. "Yes, missis, I allers dose what you and
massa tells me, an' axes nobody."
While the mistress went in search of Hannah,
Dolly came in saying, "Oh, Cato, do go an' tell
missis dat you don't want Hannah. Don't yer hear
how she's whippin' her in de cellar? Do go an' tell
missis dat you don't want Hannah, and den she'll
stop whippin' her."
Cato. " No, Dolly, I ain't a gwine to do no such a
thing, kase ef I tell missis dat I don't want Hannah,
den missis will whip me ; an' I ain't a-gwine to be
whipped fer you, ner Hannah, ner nobody else.
No, I'll jump the broomstick wid every woman on
de place, ef missis wants me to, before I'll be
Dolly. "Cato, ef I was in Hannah's place, I'd see
you in de bottomless pit before I'd live wid you, you
great, big, wall-eyed, empty-headed, knock-kneed
fool. You're as mean as your devilish old missis."
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 45
Cato. "Ef you don't quit dat busin' me, Dolly,
I'll tell missis as soon as she comes in, an' she'll whip
you, you know she will."
As Mrs. Gaines entered she said, "You ought to
be ashamed of yourself, Hannah, to make me fatigue
myself in this way, to make you do your duty. It's
very naughty in you, Hannah. Now, Dolly, you
and Susan get the broom, and get out in the middle
of the room. There, hold it a little lower — a little
higher ; there, that'll do. Now, remember that this
is a solemn occasion ; you are going to jump into
matrimony. Now, Cato, take hold of Hannah's
hand. There, now, why could n't you let Cato take
hold of your hand before? Now, get ready, and
when I count three, do you jump. Eyes on the
broomstick! All ready. One, two, three, and over
you go. There, now you're husband and wife, and
if you don't live happy together, it's your own fault ;
for I am sure there's nothing to hinder it. Now,
Hannah, come up to the house, and I'll give you
some whiskey, and you can make some apple-toddy,
and you and Cato can have a fine time. Now, I'll
go back to the parlor."
Dolly. "I tell you what, Susan, when I get mar-
ried, I is gwine to have a preacher to marry me. I
ain't a-gwine to jump de broomstick. Dat will do
for fieP hands, but house servants ought to be 'bove
Susan. "Well, chile, you can't spect any ting else
from ole missis. She come from down in Carlina,
from 'mong de poor white trash. She don't know any
46 MY SOUTHERN HOME
better. You can't speck nothin' more dau a jump
from a frog. Missis says she is one ob de akastoc-
acy ; but she ain't no more of an akastocacy dan I
is. Missis says she was born wid a silver spoon in
her mouf ; ef she was, I wish it had a-choked her,
dat' what I wish."
The mode of jumping the broomstick was the
general custom in the rural districts of the South,
forty years ago ; and, as there was no law whatever
in regard to the marriage of slaves, this custom had
as binding force with the negroes, as if they had
been joined by a clergyman ; the difference being
the one was not so high-toned as the other. Yet, it
must be admitted that the blacks always preferred
being married by a clergyman.
DE. GAINES and wife having spent the heated
season at the North, travelling for pleasure
and seeking information upon the mode of agricul-
ture practised in the free States, returned home
filled with new ideas which they were anxious to
put into immediate execution, and, therefore, a rad-
ical change was at once commenced.
Two of the most interesting changes proposed,
were the introduction of a plow, which was to take
the place of the heavy, unwieldy one then in use,
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 47
and a washing-machiue, instead of the hard hand-
rubbing then practised. The first called forth much
criticism amongst the men in the field, where it was
christened the " Yankee Dodger," and during the
first half a day of its use, it was followed by a large
number of the negroes, men and women wondering
at its superiority over the old plow, and wanting to
know where it was from.
But the excitement in the kitchen, amongst the
women, over the washing-machine, threw the nov-
elty of the plow entirely in the shade.
"An' so dat tub wid its wheels an' fixin' is to do
de washin', while we's to set down an' look at it,"
said Dolly, as ten or a dozen servants stood around
the new comer, laughing and making fun at its
"I don't see why massa didn't buy a woman, out
dar whar de ting was made, an' fotch 'em along, so
she could learn us how to wash wid it," remarked
Hannah, as her mistress came into the kitchen to
give orders about the mode of using the " washer."
"Now, Dolly," said the mistress, "we are to have
new rules, hereafter, about the work. While at the
North, I found that the women got up at four
o'clock, on Monday mornings, and commenced the
washing, which was all finished, and out on the lines,
by nine o'clock. Now, remember that, hereafter,
there is to be no more washing on Fridays, and
ironing on Saturdays, as you used to do. And
instead of six of you great, big women to do the
washing, two of you with the f washer,' can do the
48 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
work." And out she went, leaving the negroes to
the contemplation of the future.
" I wish missis had stayed at home, 'stead of goin'
round de world, bringin' home new rules. Who she
tinks gwine to get out of bed at four o'clock in de
mornin', kase she fotch home dis wash-box," said
Dolly, as she gave a knowing look at the other
" De Lord knows dat dis chile ain't a-gwine to git
out of her sweet bed at four o'clock in de mornin',
for no body; you hears dat, don't you?" remarked
Winnie, as she gave a loud laugh, and danced out
of the room.
Before the end of the week, Peter had run the
new plow against a stump, and had broken it
beyond the possibility of repair.
When the lady arose on Monday morning, at half-
past nine, her usual time, instead of finding the
washing out on the lines, she saw, to her great dis-
appointment, the inside works of the "washer"
taken out, and Dolly, the chief laundress, washing
away with all her power, in the old way, rubbing
with her hands, the perspiration pouring down her
"What have you been doing, Dolly, with the
'washer?'" exclaimed the mistress, as she threw up
her hands in astonishment.
"Well, you see, missis," said the servant, "dat
merchine won't work no way. I tried it one way,
den I tried it an udder way, an' still it would not
work. So, you see, I got de screw-driver an' I took
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 49
it to pieces. Dat's de reason I ain't got along faster
wid de work."
Mrs. Gaines returned to the parlor, sat down, and
had a good cry, declaring her belief that "negroes
could not be madei white folks, no matter what you
should do with them."
Although the K patent plow " and the " washer "
had failed, Dr. and Mrs. Gaines had the satisfaction
of knowing that one of their new ideas was to be
put into successful execution in a few days.
While at the North, they had eaten at a form-
house, some new cheese, just from the press, and
on speaking of it, she was told by old Aunt Nancy,
the black mamma of the place, that she understood
all about making cheese. This piece of information
gave general satisfaction, and a cheese-press was at
once ordered from St. Louis.
The arrival of the cheese-press, the following
week, was the signal for the new sensation. Nancy
was at once summoned to the great house for the
purpose of superintending the making of the cheese.
A prouder person than the old negress could scarcely
have been found. Her early days had been spent
on the eastern shores of Maryland, where the blacks
have an idea that they are, by nature, superior to
their race in any other part of the habitable globe.
Nancy had always spoken of the Kentucky and
Missouri negroes as "low brack trash," and now,
that all were to be passed over, and the only Mary-
lander on the place called in upon this "great
occasion," her cup of happiness was filled to the brim.
50 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
"What do you need, besides the cheese-press,
to make the cheese with, Nancy?" inquired Mrs.
Gaines, as the old servant stood before her, with
her hands resting upon her hips, and looking at the
half-dozen slaves who loitered around, listening to
what was being said.
"Well, missis," replied Nancy, "I mus' have a
"What's a runnet?" inquired Mrs. Gaines.
"Why, you see, missis, you's got to have a sheep
killed, and get out of it de maw, an' dat's what's
called de runnet. An' I puts dat in de milk, an' it
curdles the milk so it makes cheese."
"Then I'll have a sheep killed at once," said the
mistress, and orders were given to Jim to kill the
sheep. Soon after the sheep's carcass was distrib-
uted amongst the negroes, and " de runnet," in the
hands of old Nancy.
That night there was fun and plenty of cheap talk
in the negro quarters and in the kitchen, for it had
been discovered amongst them that a calf s runnet,
and not a sheep's, was the article used to curdle the
milk for making cheese.
The laugh was then turned upon Nancy, who,
after listening to all sorts of remarks in regard to
her knowledge of cheese-making, said, in a triumph-
ant tone, suiting the action to the words, —
"You niggers tink you knows a heap, but you
don't know as much as you tink. When de sheep
is killed, I knows dat you niggers would git de meat
to eat. I knows dat."
MY SOUTHERN HOME. Si
With this remark .Nancy silenced the entire group.
Then putting her hand a-kimbo, the old woman sar-
castically exclaimed : " To-morrow you'll all have
calfs meat for dinner, den what will you have to
say 'bout old Nancy?" Hearing no reply, she said :
"Whar is you smart niggers now? Whar is you, I
"Well, den, ef Ant Nancy ain't some punkins,
dis chile knows nuffin," remarked Ike, as he stood
up at full length, viewing the situation, as if he had
caught a new idea. "I allers tole yer dat Ant
Nancy had moo in* her head dan what yer catch
out wid a fine-toof comb," exclaimed Peter.
"But how is you going to tell missis 'bout killin'
de sheep? " asked Jim.
Nancy turned to the head man and replied : "De
same mudder wit dat tole me to get some sheep fer
you niggers will tell me what to do. De Lord
always guides me through my troubles an' trials.
Befoe I open my mouf, He always fills it."
The following day Nancy presented herself at the
great house door, and sent in for her mistress. On
the lady's appearing, the servant, putting on a know-
ing look, said: "Missis, when de moon is cold an'
de water runs high in it, den I have to put calf's
runnet in de milk, instead of sheep's. So, lass
night, I see dat de moon is cold an' de water is
"Well, Nancy," said the mistress, "I'll have a
calf killed at once, for I can't wait for a warm
moon. Go and tell Jim to kill a calf immediately,
52 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
for I must not be kept out of cheese much longer."
On Nancy's return to the quarters, old Ned, who
was past work, and who never did anything but eat,
sleep and talk, heard the woman's explanation, and
clapping his wrinkled hands exclaimed : "Well den,
Nancy, you is wof moo den all de niggers on dis
place, fer you gives us fresh meat ebbry day."
After getting the right runnet, and two weeks'
work on the new cheese, a little, soft, sour, hard-
looking thing, appearing like anything but a cheese,
was exhibited at "Poplar Farm," to the great amuse-
ment of the blacks, and the disappointment of the
whites, and especially Mrs. Gaines, who had fre-
quently remarked that her "mouth was watering for
the new cheese."
No attempt was ever made afterwards to renew
the cheese-making, and the press was laid under the
shed, by the side of the washing machine and the
patent plow. While we had three or four trust-
worthy and faithful servants, it must be admitted
that most of the negroes on "Poplar Farm" were
always glad to shirk labor, and thought that to
deceive the whites was a religious duty.
Wit and religion has ever been the negro's forte
while in slavery. Wit with which to please his
master, or to soften his anger when displeased, and
religion to enable him* to endure punishment when
Both Dr. and Mrs. Gaines were easily deceived
by their servants. Indeed, I often thought that
Mrs. Gaines took peculiar pleasure in being misled
MY SOUTHERN HOME.
by them ; and even the Doctor, with his long expe-
rience and shrewdness, would allow himself to be
carried off upon almost any pretext. For instance,
when he retired at night, Ike, his body servant,
would take his master's clothes out of the room,
brush them off and return them in time for the
Doctor to dress for breakfast. There was nothing
MRS. SARAH PEPPER GAINES.
in this out of the way ; but the master would often
remark that he thought Ike brushed his clothes too
much, for they appeared to wear out a great deal
faster than they had formerly. Ike, however, attrib-
uted the wear to the fact that the goods were want-
ing in soundness. Thus the master, at the advice of
his servant, changed his tailor.
54 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
About the same time the Doctor's watch stopped
at night, and when taken to be repaired, the watch-
maker found it badly damaged, which he pronounced
had been done by a fall. As the Doctor was always
very careful with his time-piece, he could in no way
account for the stoppage. Ike was questioned as to
his handling of it, but he could throw no light upon
the subject. At last, one night about twelve o'clock,
a message came for the Doctor to visit a patient who
had a sudden attack of cholera morbus. The faithful
Ike was nowhere to be found, nor could any traces
of the Doctor's clothes be discovered. Not even the
watch, which was always laid upon the mantle-shelf,
could be seen anywhere.
It seemed clear that Ike had run away with his
master's daily wearing apparel, watch and all. Yes,
and further search showed that the boots, with one
heel four inches higher than the other, had also dis-
appeared. But go, the Doctor must ; and Mrs.
Gaines and all of us went to work to get the Doctor
While Cato was hunting up the old boots, and
Hannah was in the attic getting the old hat, Jim
returned from the barn and informed his master that
the sorrel horse, which he had ordered to be saddled,
was nowhere to be found ; and that he had got out
the bay mare, and as there was no saddle on the
place, Ike having taken the only one, he, Jim, had
put the buffalo robe on the mare.
It was a bright moonlight night, and to see the
Doctor on horseback without a saddle, dressed in
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 55
his castaway suit, was, indeed, ridiculous in the ex*
treme. However, he made the visit, saved the
patient's life, came home and went snugly to bed.
The following morning, to the Doctor's great sur-
prise, in walked Ike, at his usual time, with the
clothes in one hand and the boots nicely blacked in
the other. The faithful slave had not seen any of
the other servants, and consequently did not know
of the master's discomfiture on the previous night.
"Were any of the servants off the place last
night?" inquired the Doctor, as Ike laid the clothes
carefully on a chair, and was setting down the boots.
" No, I speck not," answered Ike.
"Were you off anywhere last night?" asked the
"No, sir," replied the servant.
"What! not off the place at all?" inquired the
Doctor sharply. Ike looked confused and evidently
began to " smell a mice."
" Well, massa, I was not away only to step over
to de prayer-meetin'at de Corners, a little while, dat's
all," said Ike.
"Where's my watch?" asked the Doctor.
"I speck it's on cle mantleshelf dar, whar I put it
lass night, sir," replied Ike, and at the same time
reached to the time-piece, where he had laid it a
moment before, and holding it up triumphantly,
"Here it is, sir, right where I left it lass night."
Ike was told to go, which he was glad to do.
"What shall I do with that fellow ? " said the Doctor
to his wife, as the servant quitted the room.
$6 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
Ike had scarcely reached the back yard when he
met Cato, who told him of his absence on the previ-
ous night being known to his master. When Ike
had heard all, he exclaimed, "Well, den ef de ole
boss knows it, dis nigger is kotched sure as you is
"I would not be in your shoes, Ike, fer a heap, dis
mornin'," said Cato.
"Well," replied Ike, "I thank de Lord dat I is
got religion to stand it."
Dr. Gaines, as he dressed himself, found nothing
out of the way until he came to look at the boots.
The Doctor was lame from birth. Here he saw un-
mistakable evidence that the high heel had been
taken off, and had been replaced by a screw put
through the inside, and the seam waxed over. Dr.
Gaines had often thought, when putting his boots on
in the morning, that they appeared a little loose, and
on speaking of it to his servant, the negro would
attribute it to the blacking, which he said "made de
That morning when breakfast was over, and the
negroes called in for family prayers, all eyes were
It has always appeared strange that the negroes
should seemingly take such delight in seeing their
fellow-servants in a " bad fix." But it is neverthe-
less true, and Ike's "bad luck" appeared to furnish
sport for old and young of his own race. At the
conclusion of prayers, the Doctor said, "Now, Ike,
I want you to tell me the truth, and nothing but the
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 57
truth, of your whereabouts last night, and why you
wore away my clothes?"
"Well, massa," said Ike, "I'm gwine to tell you
"That's what I want, Ike," remarked the master.
"Now," continued the negro, "I ware cle clothes
to de dance, kase you see, massa, I knowed dat you
didn't want your body servant to go to de ball look-
ing poorer dressed den udder gentmen's boys. So
you see I had no clothes myself, so I takes yours.
I had to knock the heel off de lame leg boot, so dat
I could ware it. An' den I took f ole Sorrel,' kase he
paces so fass an' so easy. No udder hoss could get
me to de city in time ferde ball, ceptin' ? ole Sorrel.
You see, massa, ten miles is a good ways to go after
you is gone to bed. Now, massa, I hope you'll
forgive me dis time, an' I'll never do so any moo."
During Ike's telling his story, his master kept his
eyes rivetted upon him, and. at its conclusion said :
"You first told me that you were at the prayer-
meeting at the Corners ; what did you do that for ? "
"Well, massa," replied Ike, "I knowed dat I
ought to had gone to de prar-meetin', an' dat's de
reason I said I was dar."
"And you're a pretty Christian, going to a dance,
instead of your prayer-meeting. This is the fifth
time you've fallen from grace," said the master.
"Oh, no," quickly responded Ike; "dis is only
de fourf time clat I is back slid."
"But this is not the first time that you have taken
my clothes and worn them. And there's my watch,
58 MY SOUTHERN HOME
you could not tell the time, what did you want with
that?" said the Doctor.
"Yes, massa*," replied Ike, "I'll 'tell de truth; I
wore de clothes afore dis time, an' I take de watch
too, an' I let it fall, an' dat's de reason it stop dat
time. An' I know I could not tell de time by de
watch, but I guessed at it, an' dat made de niggers
star at me, to see me have a watch."
The announcement that Col. Lemmy was at the
door cut short the further investigation of Ike's case.
The Colonel was the very opposite to Dr. Gaines,
believing that there was no good in the negro, except
to toil, and feeling that all religious efforts to better
the condition of the race was time thrown away.
The Colonel laughed heartily as the Doctor told
how Ike had worn his clothes. He quickly inquired
if the servant had been punished, and when informed
that he had not, he said : " The lash is worth more
than all the religion in the world. Your boy, Ike,
with the rest of the niggers around here, will go to
a prayer meetin' and will tell how good they feel or
how bad they feel, just as it may suit the case.
They'll cry, groan, clap their hands, pat their feet,
worry themselves into a lather of sweat, sing,
I'm a-gwine to keep a-climbin' high,
See de hebbenly land ;
Till I meet dem er angels in a de sky
See de hebbenly Ian'.
Dem pooty angels I shall see,
See de hebbenly Ian' ;
Why don't de debbil let a-me be,
See de hebbenly Ian'.
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 59
"Yes, Doctor; these niggers will pray till twelve
o'clock at night; break up their meeting and go
home shouting and singing, c Glory hallelujah ! ' and
every darned one of them will steal a chicken, turkey,
or pig, and cry out ? Come down, sweet chariot, an'
carry me home to hebben ! ' yes, and still continue
to sing till they go to sleep. You may give your
slaves religion, and I'll give mine the whip, an' I'll
bet that I'll get the most tobacco and hemp out of
the same number of hands."
K I hardly think," said the Doctor, after listening
attentively to his neighbor, "that I can let Ike pass
without some punishment. Yet I differ with you in
regard to the good effects of religion upon all classes,
more especially our negroes, for the African is pre-
eminently a religious being; with them, I admit,
there is considerable superstition. They have a per-
manent belief in good and bad luck, ghosts, fortune-
telling, and the like ; but we whites are not entirely
free from such notions."
At the last sentence or two, the Colonel's eyes
sparkled, and he began to turn pale, for it was well
known that he was a firm believer in ghosts and
"Now, Doctor," said Col. Leramy, "every sensible
man must admit the fact that ghosts exist, and that
there is nothing in the world truer than that the
future can be told. Look at Mrs. Mc Williams' law-
suit with Major Todd. She went to old Frank, the
nigger fortune-teller, and asked him which lawyer
she phould employ. The old man gazed at her for
60 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
a moment or two, and said, f missis, you's got your
mind on two lawyers, — a big man and a little man.
Ef you takes de big man, you loses de case ; ef
you takes de little man, you wins de case.' Sure
enough, she had in contemplation the employment
of either McGuyer or Darby. The first is a large
man ; the latter was, as you know, a small man.
So, taking the old negro's advice, she obtained the
services of John F. Darby, and gained the suit."
"Yes," responded the Doctor, "I have always
heard that the Widow Mc Williams gained her case
by consulting old Frank."
"Why, Doctor," continued the Colonel, in an ani-
mated manner, " When the races were at St. Louis,
three years ago, I went to old Betty, the blind
fortune-teller, to see which horse was going to win ;
and she said, 'Massa, bet your money on de gray
mare.' Well, you see, everybody thought that
Johnson's black horse would win, and piles of
money was bet on him. However, I bet one hun-
dred dollars on the gray mare, and, to the utter
surprise of all, she won. When the race was over,
I was asked how I come to bet on the mare, when
everybody was putting their funds on the horse. I
then told them that I never risked my money on any
horse, till I found out which was going to win.
"Now, with regard to ghosts, just let me say to
you, Doctor, that I saw the ghost of the peddler
that w T as murdered over on the old road, just as
sure as you are born."
"Do vou think so?" asked the Doctor.
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 6 1
"Think so! Why, I kuow it, just as well as I
know that I see you now. He had his pack on his
back; and it was in the daytime, no night-work
about it. He looked at me, and I watched him till
he got out of sight. But wasn't I frightened ; it
made the hair stand up on my head, I tell you."
"Did he speak to you?" asked the Doctor.
"Oh, no ! he didn't speak, but he had a sorrowful
look, and, as he was getting out of sight, he turned
and looked over his shoulder at me."
Most of the superstition amongst the whites, in
our section, was the result of their close connection
with the blacks ; for the servants told the most
foolish stories to the children in the nurseries, and
they learned more, as they grew older, from the
slaves in the quarters, or out on the premises.
PROFITABLE and interesting amusements were
always needed at the Corners, the nearest place
to the "Poplar Farm." At the tavern, post-office,
and the store, all the neighborhood assembled to
read the news, compare notes, and to talk politics.
Shows seldom ventured to stop there, for want of
sufficient patronage. Once in three months, how-
ever, they had a " Gander Snatching," which never
failed to draw together large numbers of ladies as
62 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
well as gentlemen, the elite, as well as the common.
The getter-up of this entertainment would procure a
gander of the wild goose species. This bird had a
long neck, which was large as it rose above the
breast, but tapered gradually, for more than half the
length, until it became small and serpent-like inform,
terminating in a long, slim head, and peaked bill.
The head and neck of the zander was well-greased ;
the legs were tied together with a strong cord, and
the bird was then fastened by its legs, to a swinging
limb of a tree. The Snatchers were to be on horse-
back, and were to start fifteen or twenty rods from
the gander, riding at full speed, and, as they passed
along under the bird, they had the right to pull his
head off if they could. To accelerate the speed of
the horses, a man was stationed a few feet from the
gander, with orders to give every horse a cut with
his whip, as he went by.
Sometimes the bird's head would be caught by ten
or a dozen before they would succeed in pulling it off,
which was necessary ; often by the sudden jump of
the animal, or the rider having taken a little too much
wine, he would fall from his horse, which event would
give additional interest to the " Snatching."
The poor gander would frequently show far more
sagacity than its torturers. After having its head
caught once or twice, the gander would draw up its
head, or dodge out of the way. Sometimes the
snatcher would have in his hand a bit of sand-
paper, which would enable him to make a tighter
grasp. But this mode was generally considered
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 63
unfair, and, on one occasion, caused a duel in which
both parties were severely wounded.
But the most costly and injurious amusement that
the people in our section entered into was that
of card-playing, a species of gambling too much
indulged in throughout the entire South. This
amusement causes much sadness, for it often occurs
that gentlemen lose large sums at the gambling-
table, frequently seriously embarrassing themselves,
sometimes bringing ruin upon whole families.
Mr. Oscar Smith, residing near "Poplar Farm,"
took a trip to St. Louis, thence to New Orleans and
back. On the steamer he was beguiled into gaming.
"Go call my boy, steward," said Mr. Smith, as
he took his cards one by one from the table.
In a few moments a fine-looking, bright-eyed
mulatto boy, apparently about fifteen years of age,
was standing by his master's side at the table.
"I will see you and five hundred dollars better,"
said Smith, as his servant Jerry approached the table.
"What price do you set on that boy?" asked
Johnson, as he took a roll of bills from his pocket.
"He will bring a thousand dollars, any day, in the
New Orleans market," replied Smith.
"Then you bet the whole of the boy, do you?"
"I call you, then," said Johnson, at the same
time spreading his cards out upon the table.
"You have beat me," said Smith, as soon as he
saw the cards.
Jerry, who was standing on top of the table, with
MY SOUTHERN HOME.
the bank-notes and silver dollars round his feet, was
now ordered to descend from the table.
H You will not forget that you belong to me," said
Johnson, as the young slave was stepping from the
table to a chair.
"No, sir," replied the chattel.
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 65
"Now go back to your bed, and be up in time
to-morrow morning to brush my clothes and clean
my boots, do you hear?"
"Yes, sir," responded Jerry, as he wiped the
tears from his eyes.
As Mr. Smith left the gaming-table, he said : "I
claim the right of redeeming that boy, Mr. Johnson.
My father gave him to me when I came of age, and
I promised not to part with him."
"Most certainly, sir, the boy shall be yours when-
ever you hand me over a cool thousand," replied
The next morning, as the passengers were assem-
bling in the breakfast saloons, and upon the guards
of the vessel, and the servants were seen running
about waiting upon or looking for their masters,
poor Jerry was entering his new master's state-room
with his boots.
The genuine wit of the negro is often a marvel to
the whites, and this wit or humor, as it may be
called, is brought out in various ways. Not unfre-
quently is it exhibited by the black, when he really
means to be very solemn.
Thus our Sampey met Davidson's Joe, on the
road to the Corners, and called out to him several
times without getting an answer. At last, Joe,
appearing much annoyed, stopped, looked at Sam-
pey in an attitude of surprise, and exclaimed :
"Ain't you got no manners? Whare's your eyes?
Don't you see I is a funeral ? "
It was not till then that Sampey saw that Joe had
66 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
a box in his arms, resembling a coffin, in which was
a deceased negro child. The negro would often
show his wit to the disadvantage of his master or
When visitors were at "Poplar Farm," Dr. Gaines
would frequently call in Cato to sing a song or crack
a joke, for the amusement of the company. On one
occasion, requesting the servant to give a toast, at
the same time handing the negro a glass of wine,
the latter took the glass, held it up, looked at it,
began to show his ivory, and said :
" De big bee flies high,
De little bee makes de honey,
Pe black man raise de cotton,
An' de white man gets de money ."
The same servant going to meeting one Sabbath,
was met on the road bj- Major Ben. O'Fallon, who
was riding on horseback, with a hoisted umbrella to
keep the rain off. The Major, seeing the negro
trudging along bareheaded and with something
under his coat, supposing he had stolen some article
which he was attempting to hide, said, "What's that
you've got under your coat, boy?"
"Nothin', sir, but my hat," replied the slave,
and at the same time drawing forth a second-hand
"Is it yours?" inquired the Major,
"Yes, sir," was the quick response of the negro.
"Well," continued the Major, "if it is yours, why
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 6?
don't you wear it and save your head from the
" Oh ! " replied the servant, with a smile of seem-
ing satisfaction, M de head belongs to massa an' de
hat belongs to me. Let massa take care of his
property, an' I'll take care of mine."
Dr. Gaines, while taking a neighbor out to the
pig sty, to show him some choice hogs that he in-
tended for the next winter's bacon, said to Dolly
who was feeding the pigs : "How much lard do you
think you can get out of that big hog, Dolly?"
The old negress scratched her wooly head, put on
a thoughtful look, and replied, "I specks I can get
a pail full, ef cle pail aint too big."
"I reckon you can," responded the master.
The ladies are not without their recreation, the
most common of which is snuff-dipping. A snuff-
box or bottle is carried, and with it a very small
stick or cane, which has been chewed at the end
until it forms a small mop. The little dippers or
sticks are sold in bundles for the use of the ladies,
and can be bought simply cut in the requisite lengths
or chewed ready for use. This the dipper moistens
with saliva, and dips into the snuff-box, and then
lifts the mop thus loaded inside the lips. In some
parts they courteously hand round the snuff and
dipper, or place a plentiful supply of snuff on the
table, into which all the company may dip.
Amongst even the better classes of whites, the
ladies would often assemble inconsiderable numbers,
especially during revival meeting times, place a
68 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
wash-dish in the middle of the room, all gather
around it, commence snuff-dipping, and all using
the wash-dish as a common spittoon.
Every well bred lady carries her own snuff-box
and dipper. Generally during church service, where
the clergyman is a little prosy, snuff-dipping is
FOETY years ago, in the Southern States, super-
stition held an exalted place with all classes,
but more especially with the blacks and uneducated,
or poor, whites. This was shown more clearly in
their belief in witchcraft in general, and the devil
in particular. To both of these classes, the devil
was a real being, sporting a club-foot, horns, tail,
and a hump on his back.
The influence of the devil was far greater than
that of the Lord. If one of these votaries had
stolen a pig, and the fear of the Lord came over
him, he would most likely ask the Lord to forgive
him, but still cling to the pig. But if the fear of
the devil came upon him, in all probability he would
drop the pig and take to his heels.
In those days the city of St. Louis had a large
number who had implicit faith in Voudooism. I
once attended one of their midnight meetings. In
the pale rays of the moon the dark outlines of a
MY SOUTHERN HOME. v 69
large assemblage was visible, gathered about a small
fire, conversing in different tongues. They were
negroes of all ages, — women, children, and men.
Finally, the noise was hushed, and the assembled
group assumed an attitude of respect. They made
way for their queen, and a short, black, old negress
came upon the scene, followed by two assistants,
one of whom bore a cauldron, and the other, a box.
The cauldron was placed over the dying embers,
the queen drew forth, from the folds of her gown, a
magic wand, and the crowd formed a ring around
her- Her first act was to throw some substance on
the fire, the flames shot up with a lurid glare — now
it writhed in serpent coils, now it darted upward in
forked tongues, and then it gradually transformed
itself into a veil of dusky vapors. At this stage,
after a certain amount of gibberish and wild gestic-
ulation from the queen, the box was opened, and
frogs, lizards, snakes, dog liver, and beef hearts
drawn forth aud thrown into the cauldron. Then
followed more gibberish and gesticulation, when the
congregation joined hands, and began the wildest
dance imaginable, keeping it up until the men and
women sank to the ground from mere exhaustion.
In the ignorant days of slavery, there was a gen-
eral belief that a horse-shoe hung over the door
would instfre good luck. I have seen negroes, other-
wise comparatively intelligent, refuse to pick up a
pin, needle, or other such object, dropped by a
negro, because, as they alleged, ff the person who
dropped the articles had a spite against them, to
70 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
touch anything they dropped would voudou them,
and make them seriously ill. <•
Nearly every large plantation, with any consider-
able number of negroes, had at least one, who laid
claim to be a fortune-teller, and who was regarded
with more than common respect by his fellow-slaves.
Dinkie, a full-blooded African, large in frame, coarse
featured, and claiming to be a descendant of a king
in his native land, was the oracle on the "Poplar
Farm." At the time of which I write, Dinkie was
about fifty years of age, and had lost an eye, and
was, to say the least, a very ugly-looking man.
No one in that section was considered so deeply
immersed in voudooism, goopherism, and fortune-
telling, as he. Although he had been many years
in the Gaines family, no one could remember the
time when Dinkie was called upon to perform
manual labor. He was not sick, yet he never
worked. No one interfered with him. If he felt
like feeding the chickens, pigs, or cattle, he did so.
Dinkie hunted, slept, was at the table at meal time,
roamed through the woods, went to the city, and
returned when he pleased, with no one to object, or
to ask a question. Everybody treated him with
respect. The whites, throughout the neighborhood,
tipped their hats to the old one-e} ;r ed negro, while
the policemen, or patrollers, permitted Mm to pass
without a challenge. The negroes, everywhere, stood
in mortal fear of "Uncle Dinkie." The blacks who
saw him every day, were always thrown upon their
good behavior, when in his presence. I once asked
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 7 1
a negro why they appeared to be afraid of Dinkie.
He looked at me, shrugged his shoulders, smiled,
shook his head and said, —
"I ain't afraid of de debble, but I ain't ready to
go to him jess yet." He then took a look around
and behind, as if he feared some one would hear
what he was saying, and then continued : "Dinkie's
got de power, ser ; he knows things seen and unseen,
an' dat's what makes him his own massa."
It was literally true, this man was his own master.
He wore a snake's skin around his neck, carried a
petrified frog in one pocket, and a dried lizard in
A slave speculator once came along and offered to
purchase Dinkie. Dr. Gaines, no doubt, thought it
a good opportunity to get the elephant off his hands,
and accepted the money. A day later, the trader
returned the old negro, with a threat of a suit at
law for damages.
A new overseer was employed, by Dr. Gaines, to
take charge of "Poplar Farm." His name was
Grove Cook, and he was widely known as a man of
ability in managing plantations, and in raising a large
quantity of produce from a given number of hands.
Cook -was called a "hard overseer." The negroes
dreaded his coming, and, for weeks before his arrival,
the overseer's name was on every slave's tongue.
Cook came, he called the negroes up, men and
women; counted them, looked them over as a pur-
chaser would a drove of cattle that he intended to
buy. As he was about to dismiss them he saw
72 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
Dinkie come out of his cabin. The sharp eye of
the overseer was at once on him.
" Who is that nigger?" inquired Cook.
"That is Dinkie," replied Dr. Gaines.
" What is his place ? " continued the overseer.
"Oh, Dinkie is a gentleman at large!" was the
"Have you any objection to his working?"
"Well, sir," said Cook, "I'll put him to work
Dinkie was called up and counted in.
At the roll call, the following morning, all an-
swered except the conjurer ; he was not there.
The overseer inquired for Dinkie, and was in-
formed that he was still asleep.
" I will bring him out of his bed in a hurry,"
said Cook, as he started towards the negro's cabin.
Dinkie appeared at his door, just as the overseer
"Follow me to the barn," said the impatient driver
to the negro. "I make it a point always to whip a
nigger, the first day that I take charge of a farm, so
as to let the hands know who I am. And, now,
Mr. Dinkie, they tell me that you have not had your
back tanned for many years; and, that being the
case, I shall give you a flogging that you will never
forget. Follow me to the barn." Cook started for
the barn, but turned and went into his house to get
At this juncture, Dinkie gave a knowing look to
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 73
the other slaves, who were standing by, and said,
"Ef he lays the weight ob his finger on me, you'll
see de top of dat barn come off."
The reappearance of the overseer, with the large
negro whip in one hand, and a club in the other,
with the significant demand of "follow me," caused
a deep feeling in the breast of every negro present.
Dr. Gaines, expecting a difficulty between his new
driver and the conjurer, had arisen early, and was
standing at his bedroom window looking on.
The news that Dinkie was to be whipped, spread
far and near over the place, and had called forth
men, women, and children. Even Uncle Ned, the
old negro of ninety years, had crawled out of his
straw, and was at his cabin door. As the barn doors
closed behind the overseer and Dinkie, a death-like
silence pervaded the entire group, who, instead of
going to their labor, as ordered by the driver, were
standing as if paralyzed, gazing intently at the barn,
expecting every moment to see the roof lifted.
Not a word was spoken by anyone, except Uncle
Ned, who smiled, shook his head, put on a knowing
countenance, and said, "My word fer it, de ober-
seer ain't agwine to whip Dinkie."
Five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes passed,
and the usual sound of " Oh, pray, massa ! Oh,
pray, massa!" heard on the occasion of a slave
being punished, had not yet proceeded from the
Many of the older negroes gathered around Uncle
Ned, for he and Dinkie occupied the same cabin,
74 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
and the old, superannuated slave knew more about
the affairs of the conjurer, than anyone else. Ned
told of how, on the previous night, Dinkie had slept
but little, had closely inspected the snake's skin
around his neck, the petrified frog and dried lizard,
in his pockets, and had rubbed himself all over with
goopher; and when he had finished, he knelt, and
w Now, good and lovely devil, for more than
twenty years, I have served you faithfully. Before
I got into your service, de white folks bought an'
sold me an' my old wife an' chillen, an' whip me, and
half starve me. Dey did treat me mighty bad, clat
you knows. Den I use to pray to de Lord, but clat
did no good, kase de white folks don't fear de Lord.
But dey fears you, an' ever since I got into your ser-
vice, I is able to do as I please. No white dares to
lay his hand on me ; and dis is all owing to de power
dat you give me. Oh, good and lovely devil ! please
to continer dat power. A new oberseer is to come
here to-morrow, an' he wants to get me in his hands.
But, dear devil, I axe you to stand by me in dis my
trial hour, an' I will neber desert you as long as I
live. Continer dis power ; make me strong in your
cause; make me to be more faithful to you, an' let
me still be able to conquer my enemies, an' I will
give you all de glory, and will try to deserve a seat
at your right hand."
With bated breath, everyone listened to Uncle
Ned. All had the utmost confidence in Dinkie's
H power." None believed that he would be punished,
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 75
while a large number expected to see the roof of
the barn burst off at any moment. At last the sus-
pense was broken. The barn door flew open ; the
overseer and the conjurer came out together, walk-
ing side by side, and separated when half-way up
the walk. As they parted, Cook went to the field,
and Dinkie to his cabin.
The slaves all shook their heads significantly. The
fact that the old negro had received no punishment,
was evidence of his victory over the slave driver. But
how the feat had been accomplished, was a mystery.
No one dared to ask Dinkie, for he was always silent,
except when he had something to communicate.
Everyone was afraid to inquire of the overseer.
There was, however, one faint chance of getting
an inkling of what had occurred in the barn, and
that w r as through Uncle Ned. This fact made the
old, superannuated slave the hero and centre of at-
traction, for several days. Many were the applica-
tions made to Ned for information, but the old man
did not know, or wished to exaggerate the import-
ance of what he had learned.
"I tell you, said Dolly, "Dinkie is a power."
"He's nobody's fool," responded Hannah.
"I would not make him mad wid me, fer dis
whole world," ejaculated Jim.
Just then, Nancy, the cook, came in brim full of
news. She had given Uncle Ned some "cracklin
bread," which had pleased the old man so much that
he had opened his bosom, and told her all that he
got from Dinkie. This piece of information flew
J& MY SOUTHERN HOME.
quickly from cabin to cabin, and brought the slaves
hastily into the kitchen.
It was night. Nancy sat down, looked around,
and told Billy to shut the door. This heightened
the interest, so that the fall of a pin could have been
heard. All eyes were upon Nancy, and she felt keenly
the importance of her position. Her voice was gen-
erally loud, with a sharp ring, which could be heard
for a long distance, especially in the stillness of the
night. But now, Nancy spoke in a whisper, occa-
sionally putting her finger to her mouth, indicating
a desire for silence, even when the breathing of
those present could be distinctly heard.
"When dey got in de barn, de oberseer said to
Dinkie, ? Strip yourself; I don't w T ant to tear your
clothes with my whip. I'm going to tear your black
"Den, you see, Dinkie tole de oberseer to look in
de east corner ob de barn. He looked, an' he saw
hell, wid all de torments, an' de debble, wid his
cloven foot, a-struttin' about dar, jes as ef he was
cock ob de walk. An' Dinkie tole Cook, dat ef he
lay his his finger on him, he'd call de debble up to
take him away."
"An' what did Cook say to dat?" asked Jim.
"Let me 'lone ; I didn't tell you all," said Nancy.
"Den you see de oberseer turn pale in cle face, an'
he say to Dinkie, *Let me go dis time, an' I'll nebber
trouble you any more."'
This concluded Nancy's story, as related to her by
old Ned, and religiously believed by all present.
MY SOUTHERN HOME. JJ
Whatever caused the overseer to change his mind in
regard to the flogging of Dinkie, it was certain that
he was most thoroughly satisfied to let the old negro
off without the threatened punishment ; and, although
he remained at "Poplar Farm," as overseer, for five
years, he never interfered with the conjurer again.
It is not strange that ignorant people should be-
lieve in characters of Dinkie's stamp ; but it is really
marvellous that well-educated men and women should
give any countenance whatever, to such delusions as
were practised by the oracle of " Poplar Farm."
The following illustration may be taken as a fair
sample of the easy manner in which Dinkie carried
on his trade.
Miss Martha Lemmy, being on a visit to Mrs.
Gaines, took occasion during the day to call upon
Dinkie. The conjurer knew the antecedents of his
visitor, and was ready- to give complete satisfaction
in his particular line. When the young lady entered
the old man's cabin, he met her, bade her be wel-
come, and tell what she had come for. She took a
seat on one stool, and he on another. Taking the
lady's right hand in his, Dinkie spit into its palm,
rubbed it, looked at it, shut his one eye, opened it,
and said: "I sees a young gentman, an' he's rich,
an' owns plenty of land an* a heap o' niggers ; an',
lo ! Miss Marfa, he loves you."
The ladv drew a Ions; breath of seeming satisfac-
tion, and asked, "Are you sure that he loves me,
"Oh ! Miss Marfe, I knows it like a book."
78 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
"Have you ever seen the gentleman?" the lady
The conjurer began rubbing the palm of the snow-
white hand, talked to himself in an undertone,
smiled, then laughed out, and saying: "Why, Miss
Murfa, as I lives it's Mr. Scott, an' he's thinkin'
'bout you now; yes, he's got his mind on you dis
bressed minute. But how he's changed sense I seed
him de lass time. Now he's got side whiskers an' a
mustacher on his chin. But, let me see. Here is
somethin' strange. De web looks a little smoky,
an' when I gets to clat spot, I can't get along till a
little silver is given to me."
Here the lady drew forth her purse and gave the
old man a half dollar piece that made his one eye
He resumed: "Ah ! now de fog is cleared away,
an' I see dat Mr. Scott is settin in a rockin-cheer,
wid boff feet on de table, an' smokin' a segar."
"Do you think Mr. Scott loves me?" inquired the
"O ! yes," responded Dinkie; "he jess sets his
whole heart on you. Indeed, Miss Marfa, he's
almos' dyin' 'bout you."
"He never told me that he loved me," remarked
"But den, you see, he's backward, he ain't got his
eye-teef cut y$t in love matters. But he'll git a
little bolder ebbry time he sees you," replied the
"Do you think he'll ever ask me to marry him?"
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 79
* w O ! yes, Miss Marfa, he's sure to do dat. As he
sets dar in his rockin-cheer, he looks mighty solem-
colly — looks like he wanted to ax you to haf him
"Do you think that Mr. Scott likes any other
lady, Uncle Dinkie?" asked Miss Lemmy.
"Well, Miss Marfa, I'll jess consult de web an'
see." And here the conjurer shut his one eye,
opened it, shut it again, talked to himself in an
undertone, opened his eye, looked into the lady's
hand, and exclaimed : * Ah ! Miss Marfa, I see a
lady in de way, an' she's got riches ; but de web
is smoky, an' it needs a little silver to clear it up."
With tears in her eyes, and almost breathless,
Miss Lemmy hastily took from her pocket her
purse, and handed the old man another piece of
money, saying: "Please go on."
Dinkie smiled, shook his head, got up and shut
his cabin door, sat down, and again took the lady's
hand in his.
"Yes, I see," said he, " I see it's' a lady ; but bless
you soul, Miss Marfa, it's a likeness of you dat Mr.
Scott is lookin' at ; dat's all."
This morsel of news gave great relief, and Miss
Lemmy dried her eyes with joy.
Dinkie then took down the old rusty horseshoe
from over his cabin door, held it up, and said :
"Dis horseshoe neffer lies." Here he took out of
his pocket a bag made of the skin of the rattlesnake,
and took from it some goopher, sprinkled it over the
horseshoe, saving : " Dis is de stuff, Miss Marfa, dat's
MY SOUTHERN HOME.
gwine to make you Mr. Scott's conqueror. Long
as you keeps dis goopher 'bout you he can't get
away from you; he'll ax you fer a kiss, de berry
next time he meets you, an' he can't help hisself fnm
MY SOUTHERN HOME* 8 1
doin' it. No woman can get him fum you so long
as you keep dis goopher 'bout you."
Here Dinkie lighted a tallow candle, looked at it,
smiled, shook his head, — "You's gwine to many
Mr. Scott in 'bout one year, an' you's gwine to haf
thirteen children — sebben boys an' six gals, an'
you's gwine to haf a heap of riches."
Just then, Dinkie's interesting revelations were
cut short by Ike and Cato bringing along Peter,
who, it was said, had been killed by the old bell
It appears that Peter had a way of playing with
the old ram, who was always ready to butt at an}^
one who got in his way. When seeing the ram
coming, Peter would get down on his hands and
knees and pretend that he was going to have a butt-
ing match with the sheep. And when the latter
would come full tilt at him, Peter would dodge his
head so as to miss the ram, and the latter would
jump over the boy, turn around angrily, shake his
head and start for another butt at Peter.
This kind of play was repeated sometimes for an
hour or more, to the great amusement of both
whites and blacks. But, on this occasion, Peter
was completely caught. As he was on his hands
and knees, the ram started on his usual run for the
boy ; the latter, in dodging his head, run his face
against a stout stub of dry rye stalk, which caused
him to quickly jerk up his head, just in time for the
sheep to give him a fair butt squarely in the fore-
head, which knocked Peter senseless. The ram,
82 MY SOUTHERN HOME,
elated with his victory, began to back himself for
another lick at Peter, when the men, seeing what
had happened to the poor boy, took him up and
Brought him to Dinkie's cabin to be resuscitated, or
"brought to," as they termed it.
Nearly an hour passed in rubbing the boy, before
he began to show signs of consciousness. He "come
to," but he never again accepted a butting match
with the ram.
CRUELTY to negroes was not practised in our
section. It is true there were some excep-
tional cases, and some individuals did not take the
care of their servants at all times, that economy
seemed to demand. Yet a certain degree of pun-
ishment was actually needed to insure respect to the
master, and good government to the slave popula-
tion. If a servant disobeyed orders, it was neces-
sary that he should be flogged, to deter others from
following the bad example. If a servant ran away,
he must be caught and brought back, to let the
others see that the same fate awaited them if they
made similar attempts.
While the keeping of bloodhounds, for running
down and catching negroes, was not common, yet a
few were kept by Mr. Tabor, an inferior white man,
near the Corners, who hired them out, or hunted
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 83
the runaway, charging so much per day, or a round
sum for the catch.
Jerome, a slave owned by the Kev. Mr. Wilson,
when about to be punished by his master, ran away.
Tabor and his dogs were sent for. The slave-
catcher came, and at once set his dogs upon the
trail. The parson and some of the neighbors went
along for the fun that was in store.
These dogs will attack a negro, at their master's
bidding, and cling to him as a bull-dog will cling to
TABOR'S CATCH-DOG, "GROWLER."
a beast. Many are the speculations as to whethei
the negro will be secured alive or dead, when these
dogs get on his track. However, on this occasion,
there was not much danger of ill-treatment, for Mr.
Wilson was a clergyman, and was of a humane turn,
and bargained with Tabor not to injure the slave if
he could help it.
The hunters had been in the wood a short time,
ere they got on the track of two slaves, one of
whom was Jerome. The negroes immediately bent
84 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
their steps toward the swamp, with the hope that
the dogs would, when put upon the scent, be unable
to follow them through the water. Nearer and nearer
the whimpering pack pressed on : their delusion
began to dispel.
All at once the truth flashed upon the minds of
the fugitives like a glare of light, — that it was
Tabor with his dogs ! They at last reached the
river, and in the negroes plunged, followed by the
catch-dog. Jerome was finally caught, and once
more in the hands of his master; while the other
man found a watery grave. They returned, and the
preacher sent his slave to the city jail for safe-
While the planters would employ Tabor, without
hesitation, to hunt down their negroes, they would
not receive him into their houses as a visitor any
sooner than they would one of their own slaves.
Tabor was, however, considered one of the better
class of poor whites, a number of whom had a relig-
ious society in that neighborhood. The pastor of
the poor whites was the Rev. Martin Louder, some-
what of a genius in his own way. The following
sermon, preached by him, about the time of which I
write, will well illustrate the character of the people
for whom he labored.
More than two long, weary hours had now elapsed
since the audience had been convened, and the peo-
ple began to exhibit slight signs of fatigue. Some
few scrapings and rasping of cowhide boots on the
floor, an audible yawn or two, a little twisting and
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 85
turning on the narrow, uncomfortable seats, while,
in one or two instances, a somnolent soul or two
snored outright. These palpable signs were not
lost upon our old friend Louder. He cast an eye
(emphatically, an eye) over the assemblage, and
then — he spoke : —
" My dear breethering, and beloved sistering !
You've ben a long time a settin' on your seats.
You're tired, I know, an' I don't expect you want
to hear the ole daddy preach. Ef you don't want
to hear the ole man, jist give him the least bit of a
sign. Cough. Hold up your hand. Ennything,
an' Louder'll sit rite down. He'll dry up in a
At this juncture of affairs, Louder paused for a
reply. He glanced furtively over the audience, in
search of the individual who might be "tired of
settin' on his seat," but no sign was made : no such
malcontent came within the visual range.
" Go on, Brother Louder ! " said a sonorous voice
in the "amen corner " of the house. Thus encour-
aged, the speaker proceeded in his remarks : —
"Well, then, breethering, sense you say so,
Louder'll perceed ; but he don't intend to preach a
reg'lar sermon, for it's a gittin' late, and our sect
which hit don't believe in eatin' cold vittles on the
Lord's day. My breethering, ef the ole Louder gits
outen the rite track, I want you to call him back.
He don't want to teach you any error. He don't
want' to preach nuthin' but what's found between the
leds of this blessed Book."
86 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
"My dear breethering, the Lord raised up his
servant, Moses, that he should fetch his people
Isrel up outeu that wicked land — ah. Then
Moses, he went out from the face of the Lord, and
departed hence unto the courts of the old tyranickle
king — ah. An' what sez you, Moses? Ah, sez
he, Moses sez, sez he to that wicked old Faro:
Thus sez the Lord God of hosts, sez he : Let my
Isrel go — ah. An' what sez the ole, hard-hearted
king — ah? Ah ! sez Faro, sez he, who is the Lord
God of hosts, sez he, that I should obey his voice —
ah? An' now what sez you, Moses — ah. Ah,
Moses sez, sez he : Thus saith the Lord God of
Isrel, let my people go, that they mought worship
me, sez the Lord, in the wilderness — ah. But —
ah ! my beloved breethering an' my harden', impeni-
tent frien's — ah, did the ole, hard-hearted king
harken to the words of Moses, and let my people
go — ah? Nary time."
This last remark, made in an ordinary, conversa-
tional tone of voice, was so sudden and unexpected
that the change, the transition from the singing state
"An' then, my beloved breethering an' sistering,
what next — ah? What sez you, Moses, to Faro —
that contrary ole king — ah ? Ah, Moses sez to Faro,
sez he, Moses sez, sez he : Thus seth the Lord God
of Isrel : Let my people go, sez the Lord, leest I
come, sez he, and smite you with a cuss — ah ! An'
what sez Faro, the ole tyranickle king — ah? Ah,
sez he, sez ole Faro, Let their tasks be doubled >
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 8?
and leest they mought grumble, sez he, those bricks
shall be made without straw — ah ! [Vox naturale.]
Made 'em pluck up grass an' stubble outen the fields,
breethering, to mix with their mud. Mity hard on
the pore critters; warn't it, Brother Flood Gate?"
[The individual thus interrogated replied, "Jess
so ; " and " ole Louder" moved along.]
"An' what next — ah? Did the ole king let my
people Isrel go — ah? No, my dear breethering, he
retched out his pizen hand, and he hilt 'em fash —
ah. Then the Lord was wroth with that wicked ole
king — ah. An' the Lord, he sed to Moses, sez he :
Moses, stretch forth now thy rod over the rivers an'
the ponds of this wicked land — ah; an' behold, sez
he, when thou stretch out thy rod, sez the Lord, all
the waters shall be turned into blood — ah! Then
Moses, he tuck his rod, an' he done as the Lord God
of Isrel had commanded his servant Moses to do —
ah. An' what then, say you, my breethering — ah?
Why, lo an' behold ! the rivers of that wicked land
was all turned into blood — ah; an' all the fish an'
all the frogs in them streams an' waters died a — h ! "
"Yes !" said the speaker, lowering his voice to a
natural tone, and glancing out of tjie open window
at the dry and dusty road, for we were at the time
suffering from a protracted drouth : " An' I believe
the frogs will all die now, unless we get some rain
purty soon. What do you think about it, Brother
Waters ? " [This interrogatory was addressed to a
fine, portly-looking old man in the congregation.
Brother W. nodded assent, and old Louder resumed
MY SOUTHERN HOME.
the thread of his discourse.] "Ah ; my beloved
breethering, that was a hard time on old Faro an'
his wicked" crowd — ah. For the waters was loath-
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 89
king obey the voice of the Lord, and let my people
Isrel go — ah? Ah, no, my breethering, not by a
long sight — ah. For he hilt out agin the Lord, and
obeyed not his voice — ah. Then the Lord sent a
gang of bull-frogs into that wicked land — ah. An'
they went hoppin' an' lopin' about all over the coun-
try, into the vittles, an' everywhere else — ah. My
breethering, the old Louder thinks that was a des'-
prit time — ah. But all woodent do — ah. Ole
Faro was as stubborn as one of Louder's mules —
ah, an' he woodent let the chosen seed go up outen
the land of bondage — ah. Then the Lord sent a
mighty hail, an', arter that, his devourin' locuses —
ah ! An' they et up blamed nigh everything on the
face of the eth — ah."
"Let not yore harts be trubbled, for the truth is
mitay and must prevale — ah. Brother Creek, you
don't seem to be doin' much of ennything, suppose
you raise a tune ! "
This remark was addressed to a tall, lank, hollow-
jawed old man, in the congregation, with a great
shock of "grizzled gray" hair.
w Wait a minit, Brother Louder, till I git on my
glasses ! " was the reply of Brother Creek, who pro-
ceeded to draw from his pocket an oblong tin case,
which opened and shut with a tremendous snap,
from which he drew a pair of iron-rimmed specta-
cles. These he carefully "dusted" with his hand-
kerchief, and then turned to the hymn which the
preacher had selected and read out to the congre-
gation. After considerable deliberation, and some
90 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
clearing of the throat, hawking, spitting, etc., and
other preliminaries, Brother Creek, in a quavering,
split sort of voice, opened out on the tune.
Louder seemed uneasy. It was evident that he
feared a failure on the part of the worthy brother.
At the end of the first line, he exclaimed : —
"Tears to me, Brother Creek, you hain't got the
Brother Creek suspended operations a moment,
and replied, "I am purty kerrect, ginerally, Brother
Louder, an' I'm confident she'll come out all right ! "
"Well," said Louder, "we'll try her agin," and
the choral strain, under the supervision of Brother
Creek, was resumed in the following words : —
" When I was a mourner just like you,
Washed in the blood of the Lamb,
I fasted and prayed till I got through,
Washed in the blood of the Lamb.
Chorus. — " Come along, sinner, and go with us ;
If you don't you will be cussed.
"Religion's like a blooming rose,
Washed in the blood of the Lamb,
As none but those that feel it knows,
Washed in the blood of the Lamb." — Cho.
The singing, joined in by all present, brought the
enthusiasm of the assembly up to white heat, and
the shouting, with the loud "Amen," "God save the
sinner," " Sing it, brother, sing it," made the welkin
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 9 1
WHILE the w peculiar institution " was a great
injury to both master and slaves, yet there
was considerable truth in the oft-repeated saying that
the slave "was happy." It was indeed, a low kind of
happiness, existing only where masters were disposed
to treat their servants kindly, and where the proverbial
light-heartedness of the latter prevailed. History
shows that of all races, the African was best adapted
to be the "hewers of wood, and drawers of water."
Sympathetic in his nature, thoughtless in his feel-
ings, both alimentativeness and amativeness large,
the negro is better adapted to follow than to lead.
His wants easily supplied, generous to a fault, large
fund of humor, brimful of music, he has ever been
found the best and most accommodating of servants.
The slave would often get rid of punishment by his
wit ; and even when being flogged, the master's heart
has been moved to pity, by the humorous appeals of
his victim. House servants in the cities and villages,
and even on plantations, were considered privileged
classes. Nevertheless, the field hands were not with-
out their happy hours.
An old-fashioned corn-shucking took place once a
year, on "Poplar Farm," which afforded pleasant
amusement for the out-door negroes for miles around.
On these occasions, the servants, on all plantations,
were allowed to attend by mere invitation of the
blacks where the corn was to be shucked.
92 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
As the grain was brought in from the field, it
was left in a pile near the corn-cribs. The night
appointed, and invitations sent out, slaves from
plantations five or six miles away, would assemble
and join on the road, and in large bodies march
along, singing their melodious plantation songs.
To hear three or four of these gangs coming
from different directions, their leaders giving out
the words, and the whole company joining in the
chorus, would indeed surpass anything ever pro-
duced by "Haverly's Ministrels," and many of their
jokes and witticisms were never equalled by Sam
Lucas or Billy Kersands.
A supper was always supplied by the planter on
whose farm the shucking was to take place. Often
when approaching the place, the singers would spec-
ulate on what they were going to have for supper.
The following song was frequently sung : —
" All dem puty gals will be dar,
Shuck dat corn before you eat.
Dey will fix it fer us rare,
Shuck dat corn before you eat.
I know dat supper will be big,
Shuck dat corn before you eat.
I think I smell a fine roast pig,
Shuck dat corn before you eat.
A supper is provided, so.dey said,
Shuck dat corn before you eat.
I hope dey'll have some nice wheat bread,
Shuck dat corn before you eat.
I hope dey'll have some coffee dar,
Shuck dat corn before you eat.
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 93
I hope cle}^ll have some whisky dar,
Shuck dat corn before you eat.
I think I'll fill my pockets full,
Shuck dat corn before you eat.
Stuff dat coon an' bake him down,
Shuck dat corn before you eat.
I speck some niggers dar from town,
Shuck dat corn before you eat.
Please cook dat turkey nice an' brown.
Shuck dat corn before you eat.
By de side of dat turkey I'll be foun,
Shuck dat corn before you eat.
I smell cle supper, dat I do,
Shuck dat corn before you eat.
On de table will be a stew,
Shuck dat corn, etc."
Burning pine knots, held by some of the boys,
usually furnished light for the occasion. Two hours
is generally sufficient time to finish up a large shuck-
ing ; where five hundred bushels of corn is thrown
into the cribs as the shuck is taken off. The
work is made comparatively light by the singing,
which never ceases till they go to the supper table.
Something like the following is sung during the
" De possum meat am good to eat,
Carve him to de heart ;
You'll always find him good and sweet,
Carve him to de heart ;
My dog did bark, and I went to see,
Carve him to de heart ;
And dar was a possum up dat tree,
Carve him to de heart.
94 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
Chorus. — u Carve dat possum, carve dat possum children,
Carve dat possum, carve him to de heart ;
Oh, carve dat possum, carve dat possum chil-
Carve dat possum, carve him to de heart.
" I reached up for to pull him in,
Carve him to de heart ;
De possum he began to grin,
Carve him to de heart ;
I carried him home and dressed him off,
Carve him to de heart ;
I hung him dat night in de frost,
Carve him to de heart.
Chorus. — " Carve dat possum, etc.
" De way to cook de possum sound,
Carve him to de heart ;
Fust par-bile him, den bake him brown,
Carve him to de heart ;
Lay sweet potatoes in de pan,
Carve him to de heart ;
De sweetest eatin' in de Ian/
Carve him to de heart.
Chorus. — " Carve dat possum, etc."
Should a poor supper be furnished, on such an
occasion, you would hear remarks from all parts of
the table, —
" Take dat rose pig 'way from dis table."
w What rose pig ? you see any rose pig here ? "
" Ha, ha, ha ! Dis ain't de place to see rose pig."
"Pass up some dat turkey wid clam sauce."
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 9$
"Don't talk about dat turkey; he was gone afore
" Dis is de las' time I shucks corn at dis farm."
"Dis is a cheap farm, cheap owner, an' a cheap
" He's talkin' it, ain't he?"
" Dis is de tuffest meat dat I is been called upon
to eat fer many a day ; you's got to have teeth
sharp as a saw to eat dis meat."
" Spose you ain't got no teef, den what you gwine
« Why, ef you ain't got no teef you muss gum
"Ha, ha, ha!" from the whole company, was
On leaving the corn-shucking farm, each gang of
men, headed by their leader, would sing during the
entire journey home. Some few, however, having
their dogs with them, would stcrt on the trail of *a
coon, possum, or some other game, which might
keep them out till nearly morning.
To the Christmas holidays, the slaves were greatly
indebted for winter recreation ; for long custom had
given to them the whole week from Christmas day
to the coming in of the New Year.
On "Poplar Farm," the hands drew their share of
clothing on Christmas day for the year. The cloth-
ing for both men and women was made up by
women kept for general sewing and housework.
One pair of pants, and two shirts, made the entire
stock for a male field hand.
g6 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
The women's garments were manufactured from
the same goods that the men received. Many of
the men worked at night for themselves, making
splint and corn brooms, baskets, shuck mats, and
axe-handles, which they would sell in the city during
Christmas week. Each slave was furnished with a
pass, something like the following : —
" Please let my boy, Jim, pass anywhere in this county,
until Jan. 1, 1834. and oblige Respectfully,
"John Gaines, M.D.
" 'Poplar Farm, 9 St. Louis County, Mo."
With the above precious document in his pocket,
a load of baskets, brooms, mats, and axe-handles on
his back, a bag hanging across his shoulders, with a
jug in each end, — one for the whiskey, and the
other for the molasses, — the slaves trudged off to
town at night, singing, —
" Hurra, for good ole massa,
He give me de pass to go to de city.
Hurra, for good ole missis,
She bile de pot, and giv me de licker.
Hurra, I'm goin to de city."
" When de sun rise in de mornin',
Jes' aVwe de yaller corn,
You'll fin' dis nigger has take warnin',
An's gone when de driver blows his horn.
44 Hurra, for good ole massa,
He giv me de pass to go to de city.
Hurra for good ole missis,
She bile de pot, and give me de licker.
Hurra, I'm goin to de city."
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 97
Both the Methodists and Baptists, — the rejigious
denominations to which the blacks generally belong,
— never fail to be in the midst of a revival meeting
during the holidays, and most of the slaves from
the country hasten to these gatherings. Some, how-
ever, spend their time at the dances, raffles, cock-
fights, foot-races, and other amusements that present
A YOUNG and beautiful lady, closely veiled
and attired in black, arrived one morning at
"Poplar Farm," and was shown immediately into
a room in th$ eastern wing, where she remained,
attended only by old Nancy. That the lady belonged
to the better class was evident from her dress, re-
fined manners, and the inviolable secrecy of her stay
at the residence of Dr. Gaines. At last the lady
gave birth to a child, which was placed under
the care of Isabella, a quadroon servant, who had
recently lost a baby of her own.
The lady left the premises as mysteriously as she
had come, and nothing more was ever seen or heard
of her, certainly not by the negroes. The child,
which was evidently of pure Anglo-Saxon blood,
was called Lola, and grew up amongst the negro
children of the place, to be a bright, pretty girl, to
whom her adopted mother seemed verv much at-
98 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
tached. At the time of which I write, Lola was
eight years old, and her presence on the plantation
began to annoy the white members of Dr. Gaines'
family, especially when strangers visited the place.
The appearance of Mr. Walker, the noted slave
speculator, on the plantation, and whom it was said,
had been sent for, created no little excitement
amongst the slaves ; and great was the surprise to
the blacks, when they saw the trader taking Isabella
and Lola with him at his departure. Unable to sell
the little white girl at any price, Mr. Walker gave
her to Mr. George Savage, who having no children
of his own adopted the child.
Isabella was sold to a gentleman, who took her
to Washington. The grief of the quadroon at being
separated from her adopted child was intense, and
greatly annoyed her new master, who determined to
sell her on his arrival home. Isabella was sold to
the slave-trader, Jennings, who placed the woman
in one of the private slave-pens, or prisons, a num-
ber of which then disgraced the national capital.
Jennings intended to send Isabella to the New
Orleans market, as soon as he purchased a sufficient
number. At the dusk of the evening, previous to
the day she w r as to be sent off, as the old prison was
being closed for the night, Isabella suddenly darted
past the keeper, and ran for her life. It was not a
great distance from the prison to the long bridge
which passes from the lower part of the city, across
the Potomac to the extensive forests and woodlands
of the celebrated Arlington Heights, then occupied
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 99
by that distinguished relative and descendant of the
immortal Washington, Mr. Geo. W. Custis. Thither
the poor fugitive directed her flight. So unexpected
was her escape, that she had gained several rods
the start before the keeper had secured the other
prisoners, and rallied his assistants to aid in the
pursuit. It was at an hour, and in a part of the
city where horses could not easily be obtained for
the chase ; no bloodhounds were at hand to run
down the flying woman, and for once it seemed as
if there was to be a fair trial of speed and endur-
ance between the slave and the' slave-catchers.
The keeper and his force raised the hue-and-cry
on her path as they followed close behind ; but so
rapid was the flight along the wide avenue, that the
astonished citizens, as they poured forth from their
dwellings to learn the cause of alarm, were only able
to comprehend the nature of the case in time to fall
in with the motley throng in pursuit, or raise an
anxious prayer to heaven, as they refused to join in
the chase (as many a one did that night), that the
panting fugitive might escape, and the merciless
soul-dealer for once be disappointed of his prey.
And now, with the speed of an arrow, having passed
the avenue, with the distance between her and her
pursuers constantly increasing, this poor, hunted
female gained the "Long Bridge," as it is called,
where interruption seemed improbable. Already
her heart began to beat high with the hope of suc-
cess. She had only to pass three-quarters of a mile
across the bridge, when she could bury herself in a
IOO MY SOUTHERN HOME.
vast forest, just at the time when the curtain of
night would close around her, and protect her from
the pursuit of her enemies.
But God, by His providence, had otherwise deter-
mined. He had ordained that an appalling tragedy
should be enacted that night within plain sight of
the President's house, and the Capitol of the Union,
which would be an evidence, wherever it should be
known, of the unconquerable love of liberty which
the human heart may inherit, as well as a fresh
admonition to the slave-dealer of the cruelty and
enormity of his crimes.
Just as the pursuers passed the high draw, soon
after entering upon the bridge, they beheld three
men slowly approaching from the Virginia side.
They immediately called to them to arrest the fugi-
tive, proclaiming her a runaway slave. True to
their Virginia instincts, as she came near, they
formed a line across the narrow bridge to intercept
her. Seeing that escape was impossible in that
quarter, she stopped suddenly, and turned upon her
On came the profane and ribald gang, faster than
ever, already exulting in her capture, and threaten-
ing punishment for her flight. For a moment, she
looked wildly and anxiously around to see if there
was no hope of escape, on either hand ; far down
below, rolled the deep, foaming waters of the
Potomac, and before and behind were the rapidly
approaching steps and noisy voices of her pursuers.
Seeing how vain would be any further effort to
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 01
escape, her resolution was instantly taken. She
clasped her hands convulsively together, raised her
tearful and imploring eyes towards heaven, and
begged for the mercy and compassion there, which
was unjustly denied her on earth; then, with a
single bound, vaulted over the railing of the bridge,
and sank forever beneath the angry and foaming
waters of the river.
In the meantime Mr. and Mrs. Savage were be-
coming more and more interested in the child, Lola,
whom they had adopted, and who was fast developing
into an intellectual and beautiful girl, whose bright,
sparkling hazel eyes, snow-white teeth and ala-
baster complexion caused her to be admired by all.
In time, Lola become highly educated, and was duly
introduced into the best society.
The cholera of 1832, in its ravages, swept off
many of St. Louis' most valued citizens, and among
them, Mr. George Savage. Mrs. Savage, who was
then in ill-health, regarded Lola with even greater
solicitude, than during the lifetime of her late hus-
band. Lola had been amply provided for by Mr.
Savage, in his will. She was being courted by Mr.
Martin Phelps, previous to the death of her adopted
father, and the failing health of Mrs. Savage hastened
The marriage of Mr. Phelps and Miss Savage par-
took more of a private than of a public affair, owing
to the recent death of Mr. Savage. Mr. Pheips'
residence was at the outskirts of the city, in the
vicinity of what was known as the "Mound," and
102 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
was a lovely spot. The lady had brought consider-
able property to her husband.
One morning in the month of December, and only
about three months after the marriage of the Phelps's,
two men alighted from a carriage, at Mr. Phelps'
door, rang the bell, and were admitted by th6 ser-
vant. Mr. Phelps hastened from the breakfast-table,
as the servant informed him of the presence of the
On entering the sitting-room, the host recognized
one of the men as Officer Mull, while the other
announced himself as James Walker, and said, —
"I have come, Mr. Phelps, on rather an unpleas-
ant errand. You've got a slave in your house that
belongs to me."
" I think you are mistaken, sir," replied Mr.
Phelps ; " my servants are all hired from Major
Walker put on a sinister smile, and blandly con-
tinued, "I see, sir, that you don't understand me.
Ten years ago I bought a slave child from Dr.
Gaines, and lent her to Mr. George Savage, and I
understand she's in your employ, and I've come to
get her," and here the slave speculator took from
his side pocket a large sheepskin pocket book, and
drew forth the identical bill of sale of Lola, given
to him by Dr. Gaines at the time of the selling of
Isabella and the child.
"Good heavens!" exclaimed Mr. Phelps, "that
paper, if it means anything, it means my wife."
"I can't help what it means," remarked Walker :
MY SOUTHERN HOME. IO3
"here's the bill of sale, and here's the officer to get
me my nigger."
" There must be a mistake here. It is true that
my wife was the adopted daughter of the late Mr.
George Savage, but there is not a drop of negro
blood in her veins ; and I doubt, sir, if you have
ever seen her."
"Well, sir," said Walker, "jest bring her in the
room, and I guess she'll know me."
Feeling; confident that the bill of sale had no
reference to his wife, Mr. Phelps rang the bell, and
told the boy that answered it to ask his mistress to
come in. A moment or two later, and the lady
entered the room.
"My dear," said Mr. Phelps, "are you acquainted
with either of these gentlemen?"
The lady looked, hesitated, and replied, "I think
Then Walker arose, stepped towards the window,
where he could be seen to better advantage, and
said, "Why, Lola, have you forgotten me, its only
about ten years since I brought you from r Poplar
Farm,' and lent you to Mr. Savage. Ha, ha, ha !"
This coarse laugh of the rough, uneducated negro-
trader had not ceased, when Lola gave a heart-
rending shriek, and fell fainting upon the floor.
"I thought she'd know me when I jogged her
memory," said Walker, as he re-seated himself.
Mr. Phelps sprang to his wife, and lifted her
from the floor, and placed her upon the sofa.
"Throw a little of Adam's ale in her face, and
MY SOUTHERN HOME.
that'll bring her to. I've seen 'em faint afore ; but
they allers come to," said the trader.
«I thanK you, sir, but I will attend to my own
,ffairs," said Mr. Phelps, in a rather petulant tone.
MY SOUTHERN HOME. IC5
"Yes," replied Walker; "but she's mine, and I
want to see that she comes to."
As soon as she revived, Mr. Phelps led his wife
from the room. A conference of an hour took
place on the return of Mr. Phelps to the parlor,
which closed with the understanding that a legal
examination of the papers should settle the whole
question the next day.
At the appointed time, on the following morning,
one of the ablest lawyers in the city, Col. Strawther,
pronounced the bill of sale genuine, for it had been
drawn up by Justice McGuyer, and witnessed by
George Kennelly and Wilson P. Hunt.
For this claim, Walker expressed a willingness to
sell the woman for two thousand dollars. The pay-
ment of the money would have been a small matter,
if it had not carried with it the proof that Lola was
a slave, which was undeniable evidence that she had
negro blood in her veins.
Yet such was the result, for Dr. Gaines had been
dead these three years, and whoever Lola's mother
was, even if living, she would not come forth to
vindicate the free birth of her child.
Mr. Phelps was a man of fine sensibility and was
affectionately attached to his wife. However, it
was a grave question to be settled in his mind,
whether his honor as a Southern gentleman, and
his standing in society would allow him to acknowl-
edge a woman as his wife, in whose veins coursed
the accursed blood of the negro slave.
Long was the struggle between love and duty,
106 MY SOUTHERN HOME. «
but the shame of public gaze and the ostracism of
society decided the matter in favor of duty, and the
young and lovely wife was informed by the husband
that they must separate, never to meet again. In-
describable were the feelings of Lola, as she begged
him, upon her knees, not to leave her. The room
was horrible in its darkness, — her mind lost its
reasoning powers for a time. At last consciousness
returned, but only to awaken in her the loneliness
of her condition, and the unfriendliness of that law
and society that dooms one to everlasting disgrace
for a blood taint, which the victim did not have.
Ten days after the proving of the bill of sale, the
innocent Lola died of a broken heart, and was in-
terred in the negro burial ground, with not a white
face to follow the corpse to its last resting-place.
Such is American race prejudice.
THE invention of the Whitney cotton gin, nearly
fifty years ago, created a wonderful rise in the
price of slaves in the cotton States. The value of
able-bodied men, fit for field-hands, advanced from
five hundred to twelve hundred dollars, in the short
space of five years. In 1850, a prime field-hand
was worth two thousand dollars. The price of
women rose in proportion ; they being valued at
MY SOUTHERN HOME. lO*J
about three hundred dollars less each than the men.
This change in the price of slaves caused a lucrative
business to spring up, both in the breeding of slaves
and the sending of them to the States needing their
services. Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee,
and North Carolina became the slave-raising sec-
tions; Virginia, however, was always considered
the banner State. To the traffic in human beings,
more than to any other of its evils, is the institution
indebted for its overthrow.
From the picture on the heading of The Liber-
ator, down to the smallest tract printed against
slavery, the separation of families was the chief
object of those exposing the great American sin.
The tearing asunder of husbands and wives, of
parents and children, and the gangs of men and
women chained together, en route for the New-
Orleans' market, furnished newspaper correspond-
ents with items that never wanted readers. These
newspaper paragraphs were not unfrequently made
stronger by the fact that many of the slaves were
as white as those who offered them for sale, and the
close resemblance of the victim to the trader, often
reminded the purchaser that the same blood coursed
through the veins of both.
The removal of Dr. Gaines from " Poplar Farm "
to St. Louis, gave me an opportunity of seeing the
worst features of the internal slave-trade. For
many years Missouri drove a brisk business in the
selling of her sons and daughters, the greater num-
ber of whom passed through the city of St. Louis.
108 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
For a long time, James Walker was the principal
speculator in this species of property. The early
life of this man had been spent as a drayman, first
working for others, then for himself, and eventually
purchasing men who worked with him. At last,
disposing of his horses and drays, he took his faith-
ful men to the Louisiana market and sold them.
This was the commencement of a career of cruelty,
that, in all probability, had no equal in the annals
of the American slave trade.
A more repulsive-looking person could scarcely
be found in any community of bad-looking men
than Walker. Tall, lean, and lank, with high
cheek-bones, face much pitted with the small-pox,
gray eyes, with red eyebrows, and sandy whiskers,
he indeed stood alone without mate or fellow in
looks. He prided himself upon what he called his
goodness of heart, and was always speaking of his
Walker often boasted that he never separated
families if he could w persuade the purchaser to take
the whole lot.* He would always advertise in the
New Orleans' papers that he would be there with a
prime lot of able-bodied slaves, men and women,
fit for field-service, with a few extra ones calculated
for house servants, — all between the ages of fifteen
and twenty-five years ; but like most men who make
a business of speculating in human beings, he often
bought many who were far advanced in years, and
would try to pass them off for five or six years
younger than they were. Few persons can arrive
MY SOUTHERN HOME. IO9
at anything approaching the real age of the negro,
by mere observation, unless they are well acquainted
with the race. Therefore, the slave-trader frequently
carried out the deception with perfect impunity. •
As soon as the steamer would leave the wharf, and
was fairly on the bosom of the broad Mississippi,
the speculator would call his servant Pompey to
him, and instruct him as to getting the slaves ready
for the market. If any of the blacks looked as
if they were older than they were advertised to be,
it was Pompey's business to fit them for the day of
Pomp, as he was usually called by the trader, was
of real negro blood, and would often say, when
alluding to himself, "Dis nigger am no counterfeit,
he is de ginuine artikle. Dis chile is none of your
haf-and-haf, dere is no bogus about him."
Pompey was of low stature, round face, and, like
most of his race, had a set of teeth, which, for
whiteness and beauty, could not be surpassed ; his
eyes were large, lips thick, and hair short and
fvoolly. Pomp had been with Walker so long, and
seen so much of buying and selling of his fellow-
creatures, that he appeared perfectly indifferent to
the heart-rending scenes which daily occurred in his
presence. Such is the force of habit : —
" Vice is a monster of such frightful mien,
That to be hated, needs but to be seen ;
But seen too oft, familiar with its face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace."
IIO MY SOUTHERN HOME.
Before reaching the place of destination, Pompey
would pick out the older portion and say, "I is de
chap dat is to get you ready for de Orleans market,
so dat you will bring marser a good price. How
old is you?" addressing himself to a man that
showed some age.
"Ef I live to see next corn-plantin' time, I'll be
"Dat may be," replied Pompey, "but now you is
only thirty years old ; dat's what marser says you
is to be."
"I know I is mo' dan dat," responded the man.
"I can't help nuffin' 'bout dat," returned Pompey ;
"but when you get in de market, an' any one ax
you how old you is, an' you tell um you is forty,
massa will tie you up, an' when he is done whippin'
you, you 11 be glad to say you's only thirty."
" Well den, I reckon I is only thirty," said the
" What is your name ? " asked Pompey of another
man in the group.
"Jeems, M was the response,
"Oh! Uncle Jim, is it?"
" Den you muss' hab all dem gray whiskers shaved
off, and dem gray hairs plucked out of your head.
De fack is, you's got ole too quick." This was all
said by Pompey in a manner which showed that he
knew his business.
"How ole is you?" asked Pompey of a tall,
MY SOUTHERN HOME. Ill
"I am twenty-nine, nex' Christmas Eve," said the
" What's your name ? "
"My name is Tobias," replied the slave.
" Tobias ! " ejaculated Pompey, with a sneer, that
told that he was ready to show his brief authority.
"Nowyou's puttin' on airs. Your name is Toby,
an' why can't you tell the truf? Remember, now,
dat you is twenty-three years ole ; an' afore you
goes in de market your face muss' be greased ; fer
I see you's one of dem kind o' ashy niggers, an' a
little grease will make your face look black an*
slick, an' make you look younger."
Pompey reported to his master the condition of
affairs, when the latter said, "Be sure that the
niggers don't forget what you have taught them,
for our luck depends a great deal upon the appear-
ance of our stock."
With this lot of slaves was a beautiful quadroon,
a girl of twenty years, fair as most white women,
with hair a little wavy, large black eyes, and a
countenance that betokened intelligence beyond the
comrpon house servant. Her name was Marion,
and the jealousy of the mistress, so common in
those days, was the cause of her being sold.
Not far from Canal Street, in the city of New
Orleans, in the old days of slavery, stood a two-
story, flat building, surrounded by a stone wall,
some twelve feet high, the top of which was cov-
ered with bits of glass, and so constructed as to
prevent even the possibility of any one's passing
112 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
over it without sustaining great injury. Many of
the rooms in this building resembled the cells of a
prison, and in a small apartment, near the "office,"
were to be seen any number of iron collars, hobbles,
hand-cuffs, thumb-screws, cowhides, chains, gags,
A back-yard, enclosed by a high wall, looked
like the play-ground attached to one of our large
New England schools, in which were rows of
benches and swings. Attached to the back prem-
ises was a good-sized kitchen, where, at the time
of which we write, two old negresses were at
work, stewing, boiling, and baking, and occasion-
ally wiping the perspiration from their furrowed
and swarthy brows.
The slave-trader, Walker, on his arrival at New
Orleans, took up his quarters here, with his gang
of human cattle, and the morning after, at ten
o'clock, they were exhibited for sale. First of all,
came the beautiful Marion, whose pale countenance
and dejected look, told how many sad hours she
had passed since parting with her mother. There,
too, was a poor woman, who had been separated
from her husband, and another woman, whose'looks
and manners were expressive of deep anguish, sat
by her side. There was "Uncle Jeems," with his
whiskers off, his face shaven clean, and the gray
hairs plucked out, ready to be sold for ten years
younger than he was. Toby was also there, with
his face shaven and greased, ready for inspection.
The examination commenced, and was carried on in
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 113
such a manner as to shock the feelings of any one not
entirely devoid of the milk of human kindness.
"What are you wiping your eyes for?" inquired
a fat, red-faced man, with a white hat set on one
side of his head and a cigar in his mouth, of a
woman who sat on one of the benches.
"Because I left my man behind."
" Oh, if I buy you, I will furnish you with a better
man than you left. I've got lots of young bucks on
my farm," responded the man.
" I don't want and never will have another man,"
replied the woman.
"What's your name?" asked a man, in a straw
hat, of a tall negro, who stood with his arms folded
across his breast, leaning against the wall.
"My name is Aaron, sar."
"How old are you?"
" Where were you raised ? "
"In ole Virginny, sar."
"How many men have owned you?"
" Do you enjoj' good health ? "
"How long did you live with your first owner ? n
" Did you ever run away ? "
"Did you ever strike your master?"
" Were you ever whipped much ? "
114 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
" No, sar ; I spose I didn't desarve it, sar."
? How long did you live with your second master ?"
"Ten years, sar."
" Have you a good appetite ? "
" Can you eat your allowance ? "
"Yes, sar, — when I can get it."
"Where were you employed in Virginia? "
"I worked in de tobacker fiel'."
"In the tobacco field, eh? "
" How old did you say you was ? "
"Twenty- five, sar, nex' sweet-'tater-diggin'time."
"I am a cotton-planter, and if I buy you, you will
have to work in the cotton field. My men pick one
hundred and fifty pounds a day, and the women one
hundred and forty pounds ; and those who fail to
perform their task receive five stripes for each pound
that is wanting. Now do you think you could keep
up with the rest of the hands ? "
"I don't know, sar, but I reckon I'd have to."
" How long did you live with your third master ? "
"Three years, sar," replied the slave.
"Why, that makes you thirty-three ; I thought
you told me you were only twenty-five."
Aaron now looked first at the planter, then at the
trader, and seemed perfectly bewildered. He had
forgotten the lesson given him by Pompey, relative
to his age ; and the planter's circuitous questions —
doubtless to find out the slave's real age — had
thrown the negro off his guard.
MY SOUTPIERN HOME. 115
"I must see your back, so as to know how much
you have been whipped, before I think of buying."
Pompey, who had been standing by during the
examination, thought that his services were now
required, and, stepping forth with a degree of offic-
iousness, said to Aaron: — "Don't you hear de
gemman tell you he wants to zamin you? Cum,
unharness yo-seff, ole boy, an' don't be standin'
Aaron was examined, and pronounced "sound";
yet the conflicting statement about his age was not
On the following trip down the river, Walker
halted at Vicksburg, with a "prime lot of slaves,"
and a circumstance occurred which shows what the
slaves in those daj^s would resort to, to save them-
selves from flogging, while, at the same time, it
exhibits the quick wit of the race.
While entertaining some of his purchasers at the
hotel, Walker ordered Pompey to hand the wine
around to his guests. In doing this, the servant
upset a glass of wine upon a gentleman's lap. For
this mishap, the trader determined to have his serv-
ant punished. He, therefore, gave Pompey a sealed
note, and ordered him to take it to the slave prison.
The servant, suspecting that all was not right, hast-
ened to open the note before the wafer had dried ;
and passing the steamboat landing, he got a sailor
to read the note, which proved to be, as Pompey
had suspected, an order to have him receive " thirty-
nine stripes upon the bare back."
MY SOUTHERN HOME.
Walker had given the man a silver dollar, with
orders to deliver it, with the note, to the jailor, for
it was common in those days for persons who wanted
their servants punished and did not wish to do it
themselves, to send them to the "slave pen/' and
have it done ; the price for which w T as one dollar.
How to escape the flogging, and yet bring back
WALKER, THE SLAVE TRADER.
to his master the evidence of having been punished,
perplexed the fertile brain of Pompey. However,
the servant was equal to the occasion. Standing in
front of the " slave pen/' the negro saw another well
Guessed colored man coming up the street, and he
determined to inquire in regard to how they did the
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 11/
"How de do, sar," said Pompey, addressing the
colored brother. "Do you live here?"
"Oh! no," replied the stranger, "I am a free
man, and belong in Pittsburgh, Pa."
"Ah ! ha, den you don't live here," said Pompey.
"No, I left my boat here last week, and I have
been trying every day to get something to do. I'm
pretty well out of money, and I'd do almost any-
thing just now."
A thought flashed upon Pompey 's mind — this was
"Well," said the slave, "ef you want a job, whar
you can make some money quick, I specks I can
"If you will," replied the free man, you'll do me
a great favor."
"Here, then," said Pompey, "take dis note, an'
go in to dat prison, dar, an' dey will give you a
trunk, bring it out, an' I'll tell you where to carry it
to, an' here's a dollar ; dat will pay you, won't it?"
"Yes," replied the man, with many thanks; and
taking the note and the shining coin, with smiles, he
went to the "Bell Gate," and gave the bell a loud
,ring. The gate flew open, and in he went.
The man had scarcely disappeared, ere Pompey
had crossed the street, and was standing at the gate,
listening to the conversation then going on between
the jailor and the free colored man.
" Where is the dollar that you got with this
note?" asked the "whipper" as he finished reading
Il8 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
"Here it is, sir ; he gave it to me," said the man,
with no little surprise.
w Hand it here," responded the jailor, in a rough
voice. "There, now; take this nigger, Pete, and
strap him down upon the stretcher, and get him
ready for business."
" What are you going to do to me ! " cried the
horrified man, at the jailor's announcement.
"You'll know, damn quick ! " was the response.
The resistance of the innocent man caused the
"whipper " to call in three other sturdy blacks, and,
in a few minutes, the victim was fastened upon the
stretcher, face downwards, his clothing removed, and
the strong-armed white negro-whipper standing over
him with uplifted whip.
The cries and - groans of the poor man, as the
heavy instrument of torture fell upon his bare back,
aroused Pompey, who retreated across the street,
stood awaiting the result, and wondering if he
could obtain, from the injured man, the receipt
which the jailor always gives the slave to take
back to his master as evidence of his having been
As the gate opened, and the colored brother made*
his appearance, looking wildly about for Pompey,
the latter called out, " Here I is, sar ! "
Maddened by the pain from the excoriation of his
bleeding back, and the surprise and astonishment at
the quickness with which the whole thing had been
accomplished, the man ran across the street, up-
braiding in the most furious manner his deceiver,
MY SOUTHERN HOME. I ig
who also appeared amazed at the epithets bestowed
"What have I done to you?" asked Pompey,
with a seriousness that was indeed amusing.
"What hain't you done ! " said the man, the tears
streaming down his face. "You've got my back
cut all to pieces," continued the victim.
"What did you let 'em whip you for?" said
Pompey, with a concealed smile.
"You knew that note was to get somebody
whipped, and you put it on me. And here is a
piece of paper that he gave me, and told me to
give it to my master. Just as if I had a master."
"Well, responded Pompey, "I have a half a
dollar, an' I'll give that to you, ef you'll give me
Seeing that he could make no better bargain, the
man gave up the receipt, taking in exchange the
"Now," said Pompey, "I'm mighty sorry for ye,
an' ef ye'll go down to de house, I'll pray for ye.
I'm powerful in prayer, dat I is." However the
free man declined Pompey 's offer."
. "I reckon you'll behave yourself and not spill
the wine over gentlemen again," said Walker, as
Pompey handed him the note from the jailor. "The
next time you commit such a blunder, you'll not get
off so easy," continued the speculator.
Pompey often spoke of the appearance of "my
fren'," as he called the colored brother, and would
enjoy a hearty laugh, saying, "He was a free man,
1 20 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
an' could afford to go to bed, an' lay dar till he got
Strangers to the institution of slavery, and its
effects upon its victims, would frequently speak with
astonishment of the pride that slaves would show
in regard to their own value in the market. This
was especially so, at auction sales where town or
city servants were sold.
"What did your marser pay for you?" would
often be asked by one slave of another.
"Eight hundred dollars."
"Eight hundred dollars! Ha, ha! Well, ef I
didn't sell for mo' dan eight hundred dollars, I'd
neber show my head agin 'mong 'spectable people."
"You got so much to say 'bout me sellin' cheap,
now I want to know how much your boss paid fer
"My boss paid fifteen hundred dollars cash, for
me ; an' it was a rainy day, an' not many out to de
auction, or he'd had to pay a heap mo', let me tell
you. I'm none of your cheap niggers, I ain't."
"Hy, uncle ! Did dey sell you, 'isterday? I see
you down dar to de market."
"Yes, dey sole me."
"How much did you fetch?"
" Eighteen hundred dollars."
"Dat was putty smart fer man like you, ain't it?"
"Well, I dunno ; it's no mo' dan I is wuf; fer
you muss' 'member, I was raised by de Christy's.
I'm none of yer common niggers, sellin' fer a pica-
yune. I tink my new boss got me mighty cheap."
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 121
"An' so you sole, las' Sataday, fer nine hundred
dollars ; so I herd."
"Well, what on it?"
"All I got to say is, ef I was sole, to-morrow, an'
did'nt bring more dan nine hundred dollars, I'd
never look a decent man in de face agin."
These, and other sayings of the kind, were often
heard in any company of colored men, in our
THROUGHOUT the Southern States, there are
still to be found remnants of the old time
Africans, who were stolen from their native land
and sold in the Savannah, Mobile, and New Orleans
markets, in defiance of all law. The last-named
city, however, and its vicinity, had a larger portion
of these people than any other section. New Orleans
was their centre, and where their meetings were
Congo Square takes its name, as is well known,
from the Congo negroes who used to perform their
dance on its sward every Sunday. They were a
curious people, and brought over with them this
remnant of their African jungles. In Louisiana
there were six different tribes of negroes, named
after the section of the country from which they
came, and their representatives could be, seen on the
122 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
square, their teeth filed, and their cheeks still beai-
ing tattoo marks. The majority of our city negroes
came from the Kraels, a numerous tribe who dwell
in stockades. We had here the Minahs, a proud,
dignified, warlike race ; the Congos, a treacherous,
shrewd, relentless people ; the Mandringas, a branch
of the Congos ; the Gangas, named after the river
of that name, from which they had been taken ; the
Hiboas, called by the missionaries the "Owls," a
sullen, intractable tribe, and the Foulas, the highest
type of the African, with but few representatives
These were the people that one would meet on
the square many years ago. It was a gala occasion,
these Sundays in those years, and not less than two
or three thousand people would congregate there to
see the dusky dancers. A low fence enclosed the
square, and on each street there was a little gate and
turnstile. There were no trees then, and the ground
was worn bare by the feet of the people. About
three o'clock the negroes began to gather, ea'ch nation
taking their places in different parts of the square.
The Minahs would not dance near the Congos, nor
the Mandringas near the Gangas. Presently the"
music would strike up, and the parties would pre-
pare for the sport. Each set had its own orchestra.
The instruments were a peculiar kind of banjo, made
of a Louisiana gourd, several drums made of a gum
stump dug out, with a sheepskin head, and beaten
with the fingers, and two jaw-bones of a horse,
which when shaken would rattle the loose teeth,
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 23
keeping time with tbe drums. About eight negroes,
four male and four female, would make a set, and
generally they were but scantily clad.
It took some little time before the tapping of the
drums would arouse the dull and sluggish dancers,
but when the point of excitement came, nothing
can faithfully portray the wild and frenzied motions
they go through. Backward and forward, this way
and that, now together and now apart, every motion
intended to convey the most sensual ideas. As the
dance progressed, the drums were thrummed faster,
the contortions became more grotesque, until some-
times, in frenzy, the women and men would fall
fainting to the ground. All this was going on with
a dense crowd looking on, and with a hot sun pour-
ing its torrid rays on the infatuated actors of this
curious ballet. After one set had become fatigued,
they would drop out to be replaced by others, and
then stroll off to the groups of some other tribe in
a different portion of the square. Then it was that
trouble would commence, and a regular set-to with
short sticks followed, between the men, and broken
heads ended the day's entertainment.
• On the sidewalks, around the square, the old
negresses, with their spruce-beer and peanuts, cocoa-
nuts and pop-corn, did a thriving trade, and now
and then, beneath petticoats, bottles of tafia, a kind
of Louisiana rum, peeped out, of which the gen-
darmes were oblivious. When the sun went down,
a stream of people poured out of the turn-stiles, and
the gendarmes, walking through the square, would
124 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
order the dispersion of the negroes, and by gun-fire*
at nine o'clock, the place was well-nigh deserted.
These dances were kept up until within the memory
of men still living, and many who believe in them,
and who would gladly revive them, may be found in
every State in the Union.
The early traditions, brought down through the
imported Africans, have done much to keep alive
the belief that' the devil is a personal being, with
hoofs, horns, and having powers equal with God.
These ideas give influence to the conjurer, goopher
doctor, and fortune-teller.
While visiting one of the upper parishes, not long
since, I was stopping with a gentleman who was
accustomed to make weekly visits to a neighboring
cemetery, sitting for hours amongst the graves, at
which occurrence the wife felt very sad.
I inquired of her the object of her husband's
"Oh!" said she, "he's influenced out there by
angels. 5 '
"Has he gone to the cemetery now?" I asked.
"Yes," was the reply.
" I think I can cure him of it, if you will promise
to keep the whole thing a secret."
"I will," was the reply.
"Let me have a sheet, and unloose your dog, and
I will put the cure in motion," I said. Eolla, the
big Newfoundland dog, was unfastened, the sheet
was well fitted around his neck, tightly sewed, and
the pet told to go hunt his master.
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 125
Taking the trail, the dog at once made for the
cemetery. Screams of "Help, help ! God save me ! "
coming from the direction of the tombs, aroused
the neighborhood. The cries of the man frightened
the dog, and he returned home in haste ; the sheet,
half torn, was removed, and Rolla again fastened in
Very soon Mr. Martin was led in by two frieuds,
who picked him up from the sidewalk, w T ith his face
considerably bruised. His story was, that "The
devil had chased him out of the cemetery, tripped
him up on the sidewalk, and hence the flow of blood
from the wound on his face."
The above is a fair index to most of the ghost
FORTY years ago, the escapes of slaves from
the South, although numerous, were neverthe-
less difficult, owing to the large rewards offered for
their apprehension, and the easy mode of extradition
from the Northern States. Little or no difficulty
was experienced in capturing and returning a slave
from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, or Pennsylvania, the
four States through which the fugitives had to pass
in their flight to Canada. The Quaker element in
all of the above States showed itself in the furnish-
ing of food to the flying bondman, concealing him
126 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
for days, and even weeks, and at last conveying him
to a place of safety, or carrying him to the Queen's
Instinct seemed to tell the negro that a drab coat
and a broad-brimmed hat covered a benevolent heart,
and we have no record of his ever having been de-
ceived. It is possible that the few Friends scattered
over the slave States, and the fact that they were
never known to own a slave, gave the blacks a favor-
able impression of this sect, before the victim of
oppression left his sunny birth-place.
A brave and manly slave resolved to escape from
Natchez, Miss. This slave, whose name was Jerome,
was of pure African origin, was perfectly black, very
fine-looking, tall, slim, and erect as any one could
possibly be. His features were not bad, lips thin,
nose prominent, hands and feet small. His brilliant
black eyes lighted up his whole countenance. His
hair, which was nearly straight, hung in curls upon
his lofty brow. George Combe or Fowler would
have selected his head for a model. He was brave
and daring, strong in person, fiery in spirit, yet kind
and true in his affections, earnest in whatever he
To reach the free States or Canada, by travelling
by night and lying by during the day, from a State
so far south as Mississippi, no one would think for
a moment of attempting to escape. To remain in
the city would be a suicidal step. The deep sound
of the escape of steam from a boat, which was at
that moment ascending the river, broke upon the
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 127
ears of the slave. "If that boat is going up the
river," said he, " why not I conceal myself on board,
and try to escape ? " He went at once to the steam-
boat landing, where the boat was just coming in.
"Bound for Louisville," said the captain, to one
who was making inquiries. As the passengers were
rushing on board, Jerome followed them, and pro-
ceeding: to where some of the hands were stow-
ing away bales of goods, he took hold and aided
"Jump down into the hold, there, and help the
men," said the mate to the fugitive, supposing that,
like many persons, he was working his way up the
river. Once in the hull, among the boxes, the
slave concealed himself. Weary hours, and at last
days, passed without either water or food with the
hidden slave. More than once did he resolve to let
his case be known ; but the knowledge that he would
be sent back to Natchez, kept him from doing so.
At last, with his lips parched and fevered to a crisp,
the poor man crawled out into the freight-room,
and began wandering about. The hatches were on,
and the room dark. There happened to be on board,
a wedding-party ; and a box, containing some of the
bridal cake, with several bottles of port wine, was
near Jerome. He found the box, opened it, and
helped himself. In eight days, the boat tied up at
the wharf at the place of her destination. It was
late at night. ; the boat's crew, with the single excep-
tion of the man on watch, were on shore. The
hatches were off, and the fugitive quietly made his
128 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
way on deck and jumped on shore. The man saw
the fugitive, but too late to seize him.
Still in a slave State, Jerome was at a loss to know
how he should proceed. He had with him a few
dollars, enough to pay his way to Canada, if he
could find a conveyance. The fugitive procured such
food as he wanted from one of the many eating-
houses, and then, following the direction of the
North Star, he passed out of the city, and took the
road leading to Covington. Keeping near the Ohio
River, Jerome soon found an opportunity to pass
over into the State of Indiana. But liberty was a
mere name in the latter State, and the fugitive learned,
from some colored persons tliat he met, that it was
not safe to travel by daylight. While making his
way one night, with nothing to cheer him but the
prospect of freedom in the future, he was pounced
upon by three men who were lying in wait for an-
other fugitive, an advertisement of whom they had
received through the mail. In vain did Jerome tell
tell them that he was not a slave. True, they had
not caught the man they expected ; but, if they
could make this slave tell from what place he had
escaped, they knew that a good price would be paid
them for the slave's arrest.
Tortured by the slave-catchers, to make him reveal
the name of his owner and the place from whence he
had escaped, Jerome gave them a fictitious name in
Virginia, and said that his master would give a large
reward, and manifested a willingness to return to his
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 29
By this misrepresentation, the fugitive hoped to
have another chance of getting away.
Allured with the prospect of a large sum of the
needful the slave-catchers started back with their
victim. Stopping on the second night at an inn, on
the banks of the Ohio River, the kidnappers, in lieu
of a suitable place in which to confine their prize
during the night, chained him to the bed-post of
their sleeping chamber.
The white men were late in retiring to rest, after
an evening spent in drinking. At dead of night,
when all was still, the slave arose from the floor,
upon which he had been lying, looked around and
saw that Morpheus had possession of his captors.
" For once," thought he, " the brandy bottle has done
a noble work." With palpitating heart and tremb-
ling limbs, he viewed his position. The door was
fast, but the warm weather had compelled them to
leave the window open. If he could but get the
chains off, he might escape through the window to
the piazza. The sleepers' clothes hung upon chairs
by the bedside. The slave thought of the padlock
key, examined the pockets, and found it. The
chains were soon off, and the negro stealthily making
his way to the window. He stopped, and said to
himself, "These men are villains, they are enemies
to all who, like me, are trying to be free. Then
why not teach them a lesson?" He then dressed
himself in the best suit, hung his own worn-out and
tattered garments on the same chair, and silently
passed through the window to the. piazza, and let
I30 MY SOUTHERN HOME
himself down by one of the pillars, and started once
more for Canada.
Daylight came upon him before he had selected a
hiding-place for the day, and he was walking at a
rapid rate, in hopes of soon reaching some woodland
or forest. The sun had just begun to show itself,
when Jerome was astonished at seeing behind him,
in the distance, two men upon horseback. Taking
a road to the right he saw before him a farmhouse,
and so near was he to it that he observed two men
in front of him looking at him. It was too late to
turn back. The kidnappers were behind — strange
men before. Those in the rear he knew to be ene-
mies, while he had no idea of what principles were the
farmers. The latter also saw the white men coming,
and called to the fugitive to come that way.
The broad-brimmed hats that the farmers wore
told the slaves that they were Quakers.
Jerome had seen some of these people passing up
and down the river, when employed on a steamer
between Natchez and New Orleans, and had heard
that they disliked slavery. He, therefore, hastened
toward the drab-coated men, who, on his approach,
opened the barn-door, and told him to "run in."
When Jerome entered the barn, the two farmers
closed the door, remaining outside themselves, to
confront the slave-catchers, who now came up and
demanded admission, feeling that they had their prey
"Thee can't enter my premises," said one of the
Friends, in rather a musical voice.
MY SOUTHERN HOME. I3I
The negro-catchers urged their claim to the slave,
and intimated that, unless they were allowed to
secure him, they would force their way in. By this
time, several other Quakers had gathered around the
barn-door. Unfortunately for the kidnappers, and
most fortunately for the fugitive, the Friends had just
been holding a quarterly meeting in the neighbor-
hood, and a number of them had not yet returned
to their homes.
After some talk, the men in drab promised to
admit the hunters, provided they procured an officer
and a search-warrant from a justice of the peace.
One of the slave-catchers was left to see that the fu-
gitive did not get away, while the other went in
pursuit of an officer. In the mean time, the owner
of the barn sent for a hammer and nails, and began
nailing up the barn-door.
After an hour in search of the man of the law,
they returned with an officer and a warrant. The
Quaker demanded to see the paper, and, after looking
at it for some time, called to his son to go into the
house for his glasses. It was a long time before
Aunt Ruth found the leather case, and when she did,
the glasses wanted wiping before they could be used.
After comfortably adjusting them on his nose, he
read the warrant over leisurely.
"Come, Mr. Dugdale, we can't wait all day," said
"Well, will thee read it for me?" returned the
The officer complied, and the man in drab said, —
132 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
"Yes, thee may go in, now. I am inclined to throw
no obstacles in the way of the execution of the
law of the land."
On approaching the door, the men found some
forty or fifty nails in it, in the way of their pro-
"Lend me your hammer and a chisel, if you
please, Mr. Dugdale," said the officer.
"Please read that paper over again, will thee?"
asked the Quaker.
The officer once more read the warrant.
"I see nothing there which says 1 must furnish
thee with tools to open my door. If thee wants a
hammer, thee must go elsewhere for it ; I tell thee
plainly, thee can't have mine."
The implements for opening the door are at length
obtained, and, after another half hour, the slave-
catchers are in the barn. Three hours is a long
time for a slave to be in the hands of Quakers. The
hay is turned over, and the barn is visited in every
part ; but still the runaway is not found. Uncle
Joseph has a glow upon his countenance ; Ephraim
shakes his head knowingly ; little Elijah is a perfect
know-nothing, and if you look toward the house you
will see Aunt Kuth's smiling face ready to announce
that breakfast is ready.
"The nigger is not in this barn," said the officer.
"I know he is not," quietly remarked the Quaker.
"What were you nailing up your door for, then,
as if you were afraid we would enter? " inquired one
of the kidnappers.
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 133
"I can do what I please with my own door, can't
I?" said the Friend.
The secret was out ; the fugitive had gone in at
the front door, and out at the back ; and the read-
ing of the warrant, nailing up of the door, and other
preliminaries of the Quaker, was to give the fugi-
tive time and opportunity to escape.
It was now late in the morning, and the slave-
catchers were a long way from home, and the horses
were jaded by the rapid manner in which they had
travelled. The Friends, in high glee, returned to
the house for breakfast ; the officer and the kidnappers
made a thorough examination of the barn and prem-
ises, and satisfied that Jerome had gone into the
barn, but had not come out, and equally satisfied
that he was out of their reach, the owner said,
"He's gone down into the earth, and has taken an
And thus was . christened that famous highway
over which so many of the oppressed sons and
daughters of African descent were destined to
travel, and an account of which has been published
by one of its most faithful agents, Mr. William
Still, of Philadelphia.
At a later period, Cato, servant of Dr. Gaines,
was sold to Captain Enoch Price, of St. Louis.
The Captain took his slave with him on board the
steamer Chester, just about sailing for New Orleans,
At the latter place, the boat obtained a cargo for
Cincinnati, Ohio. The master, aware that the slave
might give him the slip, while in a free State,
134 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
determined to leave the chattel at Louisville, Ky.,
till his downward return. However, Mrs. Price,
anxious to have the servant's services on the boat,
questioned him with regard to the contemplated
visit to Cincinnati.
"I don't want to go to a free State," said Cato ;
fc fer I knowed a servant dat weut up dar, once, an'
dey kept beggin' him to run away- ; so I druther not
go dar ; kase I is satisfied wid my marser, an" don't
want to go off, whar I'd have to take keer of
This was said in such an earnest and off-hand
manner, that it removed all of the lady's suspicions
in regard to his attempting to escape ; and she
urged her husband to take him to Ohio.
Cato wanted his freedom, but he well knew that
if he expressed a wish to go to a free State, he
would never be permitted to do so. In due season,
the Chester arrived at Cincinnati, where she remained
four days, discharging her cargo, and reloading for
the return trip. During the time, Cato remained
at his post, attending faithfully to his duties ; no
one dreaming that he had the slightest idea of leav-
ing the boat. However, on the day previous to the
Chester's leaving Cincinnati, Cato divulged the ques-
tion to Charley, another slave, whom he wished to
Charley heard the proposition with surprise ; and
although he wanted his freedom, his timid disposi-
tion would not allow him to make the trial.
"My master is a pretty good man, and treats me
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 35
comparatively well; and should I be caught aud
taken back, he would no doubt sell me to a cotton
or sugar-planter," said Charley to Cato's invitation.
"But," continued he, " Captain Price is a mean man ;
I shall not blame you, Cato, for running away and
leaving him. By the by, I am engaged to go to a sur-
prise-party, to-night, and I reckon we'll have a good
time. ' I've got a new pair of pumps to dance in, and
I've got Jim, the cook, to bake me a pie, and I'll have
some sandwiches, and I'm going with a pretty gal."
"So you won't go away with me, to-night?" said
Cato to Charley.
w No," was the reply.
"It is true," remarked Cato, "your marser is a
better man, an' treats you a heap better den Captain
Price does me, but, den, he may get to gambling,
an' get broke, and den he'll have to sell you."
" I know that," replied Charle}^ ; " none of us are
safe as long as we are slaves."
It was seven o'clock at night, Cato was in the
pantry, washing the supper dishes, and contemplat-
ing his flight, the beginning of which was soon to
take place. Charley had gone up to the steward's
hall, to get ready for the surprise, and had been
away some time, which caused uneasiness to Cato,
and he determined to go up into the cabin, and see
that everything was right. Entering the cabin from
the Social Hall, Cato, in going down and passing
the Captain's room, heard a conversation which
attracted his attention, and caused him to halt at
his master's room door.
I36 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
He was not long, although the conversation was
in a low tone, in learning that the parties were his
master and his fellow-servant Charley.
"And so he is going to run away, to-night, is
he?" said the Captain.
"Yes, sir," replied Charley; "he's been trying to
get me to go with him, and I thought it my duty to
"Very well; I'll take him over to Covington, Ky.,
put him in jail, for the night, and when I get back
to New Orleans, I will sell the ungrateful nigger.
Where is he now? " asked the Captain.
"Cato is in the pantry, sir, washing up the tea-
things," was the reply.
The moving of the chairs in the room, and what
he had last heard, satisfied Cato that the talk be-
tween his master and the treacherous Charley was
at an end, and he at once returned to the pantry
undetermined what course to pursue. He had
not long been there, ere he heard the well-known
squeak of the Captain's boots coming down the
stairs. Just then Dick, the cook's boy, came out of
the kitchen and threw a pan full of cold meat over-
board. This incident seemed to furnish Cato with
words, and he at once took advantage of the situa-
"What is dat you throw overboard dar?"
"None your business," replied Dick, as he slammed
the door behind him and returned to the kitchen.
"You free niggers will waste everything dar is on
dis boat," continued Cato. "It's my duty to watch
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 137
dees niggers an' see dat dey don't destroy marser's
property. Now, let me see, I'll go right off an' tell
marser 'bout Charley, I won't keep his secrets any
longer." And here Cato threw aside his dish towel
and started for the cabin.
Captain Price, who, during Cato's soliloquy, was
hid behind a large box of goods, returned in haste
to his room, where he was soon joined b}' his dutiful
In answer to the rap on the door, the Captain
said " Come in."
Cato, with downcast look ; and in an obsequious
manner, entered the room, and said, "Marser, I is
come to tell you somethin' dat hangs heavy on my
mine, somethin' dat I had ought to tole you afore
"Well," said the master, "what is it, Cato?"
"Now, marser, you hires Charley, don't you?"
"Well, den, ser, ef Charley runs away you'll
have to pay fer him, won't you?"
"I think it very probable, as I brought him into a
free State, and thereby giving him an opportunity
to escape. Why, is he thinking of running away ? "
"Yes, ser," answered Cato, "he's gwine to start
to-night, an' he's bin pesterin' me all day to go wid
"Do you mean to say that Charley has been trying
to persuade you to run away from me ? " asked the
Captain, rather sharply.
"Yes, ser, dats jess what he's bin a doin' all day.
I38 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
I axed him whar he's gwine to, an' he sed he's gwine
to Canada, an' he call you some mighty mean names,
an' dat made me mad."
"Why, Charle}^ has just been here telling me that
you were going to run away to-night."
"With apparent surprise, and opening his large
eyes, Cato exclaimed, "Well, well, well, ef dat
nigger don't beat de debble ! " And here the negro
raised his hands, and looking upward said, "Afoe
God, marser, I would'nt leave you fer dis woiT.
Now, ser, jess let me tell you how you can find out
who tells de trufe. Charley has got ebry ting ready an'
is a gwine right off. He's got tw T o pies, some sweet-
cake, some sandwiches, bread an' butter, an' he's got
a pair of pumps to dance in when he gets to Canada.
An'ef you want to kotch him in de ack of runnin'away,
you jess wait out on de dock an' you'll kotch him."
This was said in such an earnest manner, and with
such protestations of innocence, that Captain Price
determined to follow Cato's advice and watch for
"Go see if you can find where Charley is, and
come back and let me know," said the Captain.
Away went Cato, on his tip-toes, in the direction
of the steward's room, where, by looking through
the key-hole, he saw the treacherous fellow-servant
getting ready for the surprise party that he had
engaged the night previous to attend.
Cato returned almost breathless, and in a whisper
said, "I foun' him ser, he's gittin' ready to start.
He's got a bundle of provisions tied up all ready, ser ;
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 39
you'll be i>aur to kotch him as he's gwine away, ef
you go on de dock."
Throwing his camlet cloak over his shoulders, the
Captain passed out upon the wharf, took a position
behind a pile of wood, and awaited the coming of
the negro ; nor did he remain long in suspense.
With lighted cigar, dressed in his best apparel,
and his eatables tied up in a towel, Charley was
soon seen hastily leaving the boat.
Stepping out from his hiding-place, the Captain
seized the negro by the collar and led him back to
the steamer, exclaiming, "Where are you going,
what's that you've got in that bundle?"
"Only some washin' I is takin' out to get done,"
replied the surprised and frightened negro.
As they reached the lighted deck, "Open that
bundle," said the Captain.
Charley began to obey the command, and at the
the same time to give an explanation.
"Shut your mouth, j^ou scoundrel," vociferously
shouted the Captain.
As the man slowly undid the parcel, and the con-
tents began to be seen, "There," said the Captain,
"there's the pies, cake, sandwiches, bread and butter
that Cato told me you had put up to eat while run-
ning away. Yes, there's the pumps, too, that you
got to dance in when you reached Canada."
Here the frightened Charley attempted again to
explain, "I was jess gwine to — "
"Shut your mouth, you villain; you were going
to escape to Canada."
I4C MY SOUTHERN HOME.
"No, Marser Price, afoe God I was only — "
"Shut your mouth, you black rascal ; you told me
you were taking some clothes to be washed, you
During this scene, Cato was inside the pantry,
with the door ajar, looking out upon his master and
Charley with unfeigned satisfaction.
Still holding the negro by the collar, and leading
him to the opposite side of the boat, the Captain
called to Mr. Roberts, the second mate, to bring up
the small boat to take him and the "runaway" over
A few moments more, and the Captain, with Charley
seated by his side, was being rowed to Covington,
where the negro was safely locked up for the night.
"A little longer," said the Captain to the second
officer, as he returned to the boat, " a little longer
and I'd a lost fifteen hundred dollars by that boy's
"Indeed," responded the officer.
"Yes," continued the Commander, "my servant
Cato told me, just in time to catch the rascal in the
very act of running off."
One of the sailors w 7 ho was rowing, and who had
been attentively listening to the Captain, said, "I
overheard Cato to-day, trying to persuade Charley
to go somewhere with him to-night, and the latter
said he was going to a 'surprise party.' "
"The devil you' did," exclaimed the Captain.
"Hasten up there," continued he, "for these niggers
are a slippery set."
MY SOUTHERN HOME. I4I
"As the yawl came alongside of the steamer,
Captain Price leaped on deck and went directly in
search of Cato, who could nowhere be found. And
even Charley's bundle, which he left where he had
been opening it, was gone. All search for the tricky
man was in vain,
On the following morning, Charley was brought
back to the boat, saying, as they were crossing the
river, "I tole de boss dat Cato was gwine to run
away, but he did'nt bleve me. Now he sees Cato's
After the Captain had learned all that he could
from Charley, the latter's account of his imprison-
ment in the lock-up caused great merriment amongst
the boat's crew.
"But I tell you dar was de biggest rats in dat jail,
eber I seed in my life. Dey run aroun' dar an'
make so much fuss dat I was 'fraid to set down or
lay down. I had to stan' up all night."
The Chester was detained until in the latter part
of the day, during which time every effort was made
to hunt up Cato, but without success.
When upbraided by the black servants on the
boat for his treachery to Cato, Charley's only plea
was, "I 'speck it was de debble dat made me do it."
Dressing himself in his warmest and best clothes,
and getting some provisions that he had prepared
during the day, and also taking with him Charley's
pies, cakes, sandwiches, and pumps, Cato left the
boat and made good his escape before his master
returned from Covington.
142 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
It was during the cold winter of 1834, that the
fugitive travelled by night and laid by in the woods
in the day. After a week's journey, his food gave
out, and then came the severest of his trials, cold
coupled with huuger.
Often Cato would resolve to go to some of the
farm-houses and apply for food and shelter, but the
fear of being captured and again returned prevented
him from following his inclinations. One night a
pelting rain that froze as fast as it fell, drove the
fugitive into a barn, where, creeping under the hay,
he remained, sleeping sweetly while his garments
were drying upon his person.
Sounds of the voices of the farmer and his men
feeding the cattle and doing the chores, awakened
the man from his slumbers, who, seeing that it was
daylight, feared he would be arrested. However,
the day passed, and the fugitive coming out at night-
fall, started once more on his weary journey, taking
for his guide the North Star, and after travelling the en-
tire night, he again lay by, but this time in the forest.
Three days of fasting had now forced hunger upon
Cato, so that he once more determined to seek food.
Waiting till night, he came upon the highway, and
soon approached a farm-house, of the olden style,
built of logs. The sweet savor of the supper
attracted the hungry man's attention as he neared
the dwelling. For once there was no dog to herald
his coming, and he had an opportunity of viewing
the interior of the house, through the apertures that
& log cabin generally presents.
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 43
As the fugitive stood with one eye gazing through
the crack, looking at the table, already set, and
snuffing in the delicious odor from a boiling pot, he
heard the mother say, — "Take off the chicken, Sally
Ann, I guess the dumplings are done. Your father
will be home in half an hour ; if he should catch
that nigger and bring him along, we'll feed him on
the cold meat and potatoes."
With palpitating heart, Cato listened to the last
sentences that fell from the woman's lips. Who
could the " nigger" be, thought he.
Finding only the woman and her daughter in the
house, the black man had been debating in his own
mind whether or not to go in and demand a part of
the contents of the kettle. However, the talk about
"catching a nigger," settled the question at once
Seizing a sheet that hung upon the clothes-line,
Cato covered himself with it; leaving open only
enough to enable him to see, he rushed in, crying
at the top of his voice, — "Come to judgment!
Come to judgment."
Both women sprang from their seats, and, scream-
ing, passed out of the room, upsetting the table as
they went. Cato seized the pot of chicken with one
hand, and a loaf of bread, that had fallen from
the table, with the other ; hastily leaving the
house and taking to the road, he continued on his
The fugitive, however, had gone but a short dis-
tance when he heard the tramp of horses and the
144 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
voices of men ; and, fearing to meet them, he took
to the woods till they had passed by.
As he hid behind a large tree by the roadside,
Cato heard distinctly :
" And what is your master's name ? "
"Peter Johnson, ser," was the reply.
"How much do you think he will give to have
you brought back ? "
"Dunno, ser," responded a voice which Cato rec-
ognized by the language to be a negro.
It was evident that a fugitive slave had been cap-
tured, and was about to be returned for the reward.
And it was equally evident to Cato that the slave
had been caught by the owner of the pot of stewed
chicken that he then held in his hand, and he felt a
thrill of gladness as he returned to the road and
pursued his journey.
JN the year 1850, there were fifty thousand free
colored people in the slave States, the greater
number residing in Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia,
Tennessee, and South Carolina. In all the States
these people* were allowed but few privileges not
given to the slaves ; and in many their condition was
thought to be even worse than that of the bondmen.
Laws, the most odious, commonly known as the
w Black Code," were enacted and enforced in every
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 145
State. These provided for the punishment of the
free colored people — punishment which was not
mentioned in the common law for white persons ;
for binding out minors, a species of slavery, and
naming thirty -two offences more for blacks than had
been enacted for the whites, and eight of which made
it capital punishment for the offences committed.
Public opinion, which is often stronger than law r ,
was severe in the extreme. In many of the South-
ern cities, including Charleston, S. C, a colored
lady, free, and owning the fine house in which she
lived, was not allow r ed to wear a veil in the public
In passing through the thoroughfares, blacks of
both sexes were compelled to take the outside, on
pain of being kicked into the street, or sent to the
lock-up and whipped.
As late as 1858, a movement was made in several
of the Southern States to put an exorbitant tax upon
them, and in lieu of which they were to be sold into
life-long slavery. Maryland led off with a bill being
introduced into the Legislature by Mr. Hover, of
Frederick County, for levying a tax of two dollars
per annum on all colored male inhabitants of the
State over twenty-one years of age, and under fifty-
five, and of one dollar on every female over eighteen
and under forty-five, to be collected by the collectors
of the State taxes, and devoted to the use of the
Colonization Society. In case of the refusal to pay
of a property-holder or housekeeper, his or her
goods were to be seized and sold ; if not a property-
I46 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
holder, the body of the non-paying person was to
be seized, and hired out to the lowest bidder who
would agree to pay the tax ; and in case of not being
able to hire said delinquents out, they were to be
sold to any person who would pay the amount of tax
and costs for the lowest period of service !
Tennessee followed in the same strain. The an-
nexed protest of one of her noblest sons, — Judge
Catron, appeared at the time. He said :
"My objection to the bill is, that it proposes to
commit an outrage, to perpetrate an oppression and
cruelty. This is the plain truth, and it is idle to
mince words to soften the fact. Let us look the
proposition boldly in the face. This depressed and
helpless portion of our population is designed to be
driven out, or to be enslaved for life, and their
property forfeited, as no slave can hold property.
The mothers are to be sold, or driven away from
their children, many of them infants. The children
are to be bound out until they are twenty-one years
of age, and then to leave the State or be sold ; which
means that they are to be made slaves for life, in
fact. Now, of these women and children, there is
hardly one in ten that is of unmixed negro blood.
Some are half-white ; many have half-white mothers
and white fathers, making a cast of 87 l-2-100ths of
white blood ; many have a third cross, in whom the
negro blood is almost extinct ; such is the unfortun-
ate truth. This description of people, who were
born free, and lived as free persons, are to be intro-
duced as slaves into our families, or into our negro
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 47
quarters, there to be under an overseer, or they are
to be sold to the negro-trader and sent South, there
to be whipped b}' overseers — and to preach rebellion
in the negro quarters — as they will preach rebellion
everywhere that they may be driven to by this un-
just law, whether it be amongst us here in Tennessee
or south of us on the cotton and sugar plantations,
or in the abolition meetings in the free States. Nor
will the women be the least effective in preaching a
crusade, when begging money in the North, to relieve
their children, left behind in this State, in bondage.
"We are told that this f free-negro bill" is a politic,
popular measure. Where is it popular? In what
nooJc or corner of the State are principles of human-
ity so deplorably deficient that a majority of the
whole inhabitants would commit an outrage not com-
mitted in a Christian country of which history gives
any account? In what country is it, this side of
Africa, that the majority have enslaved the minority,
sold the weak to the strong, and applied the pro-
ceeds of the sale to educate the children* of the
stronger side, as this bill proposes? It is an open
assertion that ' might makes right.' It is re-openirigthe
African slave trade. In that trade the strong cap-
ture the weak, and sell them ; and so it will be here,
if this policy is carried out."
In some of the States the law was enacted and
the people driven out or sold. Those who were able
to pay their way out, came away; those who could
not raise the means, were doomed to languish in
bondage till released by the Eebellion.
I48 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
About the same time, in Georgia, Florida, and
South Carolina, strong efforts were being made to
re-open the African slave trade. At the Democratic
State Convention, held in the city of Charleston,
S. C, May 1, 1860, Mr. Gauldenmade the following
speech : —
"Mr. President, and Fellow Democrats : — As
I stated to you a few moments ago, I have been con-
fined to my room by severe indisposition, but learn-
ing of the commotion and the intense excitement
which were existing upon the questions before this
body, I felt it to be my duty, feeble as I was, to
drag myself out to the meeting of my delegation,
and when there I was surprised to find a large
majority of that delegation voting to secede at once
from this body. I disagree with those gentlemen.
I regret to disagree with my brethren from the
South upon any of the great questions which inter-
est our common country. I am a Southern States'
Rights man : I am an African slave-trader. I believe
I am one of those Southern men who believe that
slavery is right, morally, religiously, socially, and
politically. (Applause.) I believe that the institu-
tion of slavery has done more for this country, more
for civilization, than all other interests put together.
I believe if it were in the power of this country to
strike down the institution of slavery, it would put
civilization back two hundred years. I tell you,
fellow Democrats, that the African slave-trader is
the true Union man. (Cheers and laughter.) I tell
you that the slave-trading of Virginia is more im-
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 49
moral, more un-Christian in every possible point of
view, than that African slave-trade which goes to
Africa and brings a heathen and worthless man here,
makes him a useful man, Christianizes him, and
sends him and his posterity down the stream of
time to join in the blessings of civilization. (Cheers
and laughter.) Now, fellow-democrats, so far as
any public expression of opinion of the State of
Virginia — the great slave-trading State of Virginia
—has been given, they are all opposed to the
Dr. Reed, of Indiana. — I am from Indiana, and
I am in favor of it.
Mr. Gauldeist. — Now, gentlemen, we are told,
upon high authority, that there is a certain class of
men who strain at a gnat and swallow a camel.
Now, Virginia, which authorizes the buying of
Christian men, separating them from their wives
and children, from all the relations and associations
amid whom they have lived for years, rolls up her
eyes in holy horror when I would go to Africa, buy
a savage, and introduce him to the blessings of
civilization and Christianity. (Cheers and laughter. )
Mr. Rynders, of New York. — You can get one
or two recruits from New T York to join with you.
The President. — The time of the gentleman has
expired. (Cries of "Go on ! go on ! " )
The President stated that if it was the unanimous
wish of the Convention, the gentleman could pro-
Mr. Gaulden. — Now, fellow Democrats, the
ISO MY SOUTHERN HOME.
slave-trade in Virginia forms a mighty and powerful
reason for its opposition to the African slave-trade,
and in this remark I do not intend any disrespect to
my friends from Virginia. Virginia, the Mother of
States and of statesmen, the Mother of Presidents,
I apprehend, may err as well as other mortals. I am
afraid that her error in this regard lies in the prompt-
ings of the almighty dollar. It has been my fortune
to go into that noble old State to buy a few darkies,
and I have had to pay from one thousand to two
thousand dollars a head, when I could go to Africa
and buy better negroes for fifty dollars a-piece.
(Great laughter.) Now, unquestionably, it is to
the interests of Virginia to break down the African
slave-trade when she can sell her negroes at two
thousand dollars. She knows that the African slave-
trade would break up her monopoly, and hence her
objection to it. If any of you Northern Democrats
— for I have more faith in you than I have in the
Carpet Knight Democracy of the South — will go
home with me to my plantation in Georgia, but a
little way from here, I will show you some darkies
that I bought in Maryland, some that I bought
in Virginia, some in Delaware, some in Florida,
some in North Carolina, and I will also show you
the pure African, the noblest Roman of them all.
(Great laughter.) Now, fellow Democrats, my
feeble health and failing voice admonish me to
bring the few remarks I have to make to a close.
(Cries of "Go on! go on!") I am only sorry
that I am not in a better condition than I am to
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 151
vindicate before you to-day the words of truth, of
honesty, and of right, and to show you the gross
inconsistencies of the South in this regard. I came
from the First Congressional District of the State
of Georgia. I represent the African slave-trade in-
terests of that section. (Applause.) I am proud
of the position I occupy in that respect. I believe
that the African slave-trader is a true missionary, and
a true Christian. (Applause.)
Such was the feeling in a large part of the South,
with regard to the enslavement of the negro.
THE success of the slave-holders in controlling
the affairs of the National Government for a
long series of years, furnishing a large majority of
the Presidents, Speakers of the House of Represen-
tatives, Foreign Ministers, and moulding the entire
policy of the nation in favor of slave-holding, and
the admitted fact that none could secure an office in
the national Government who were known to be op-
posed to the peculiar institution, made the Southern-
ers feel themselves superior to the people of the free
States. This feeling was often manifested by an
outburst of intemperate language, which frequently
showed itself in the pulpit, on the rostrum, and in
the drawing-room. On all such occasions the placimr
152 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
of the institution of slavery above liberty, seemed
to be the aim of its advocates.
"The principle of slavery is in itself right, and
does not depend on difference of complexion" — said
the Richmond (Va.) Enquirer.
A distinguished Southern statesman exclaimed, —
"Make the laboring man the slave of one man,
instead of the slave of society, and he would be far
better off." "Slavery, black or white, is right and
necessary." "Nature has made the weak in mind or
body for slaves"
Another said : —
"Free society ! We sicken of the name. What is
it but a conglomeration of greasy mechanics , filthy
operators, small-fisted farmers, and moonstruck the-
orists? All the Nortkern States, and especially the
New England States, are devoid of society fitted for
well-bred gentlemen. The prevailing class one meets
with is that of mechanics struggling to be genteel,
and small farmers, who do their own drudgery ; and
yet who are hardly fit for association with a gentle-
man's body servant [slave]. This is your free
The insults offered to John P. Hale and Charles
Sumner in the United States Senate, and to Joshua
R. Giddings nnd Owen Lovejoy in the House of
Representatives, were such as no legislative body in
the world would have allowed, except one controlled
by slave-drivers. I give the following, which may
be taken as a fair specimen of the bulldozing of
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 153
In the National House of Representatives Hon. O.
Lo^ejoy, member from Illinois, was speaking against
the further extension of slavery in the territories,
when he was interrupted by Mr. Barksdale, of Mis-
"Order that black-hearted scoundrel and nigger-
stealing thief to take his seat."
By Mr. Boyce, of South Carolina, addressing Mr.
"Then behave yourself."
By Mr. Gartrell, of Georgia, (in his seat) —
"The man is crazy."
By Mr. Barksdale, of Mississippi, again —
"No, sir; you stand there to-day, an infamous,
By Mr. Ashmore, of South Carolina —
"Yes; he is a perjured villain, and he perjures
himself every hour he occupies a seat on this floor."
By Mr. Singleton, of Mississippi —
"And a negro thief into the bargain."
By Mr. Barksdale, of Mississippi, again —
"I hope my colleague will hold no parley with that
perjured negro thief."
By Mr. Singleton, of Mississippi, again —
"No sin; any gentleman shall have time, but not
such a mean, despicable wretch as that."
By Mr. Martin, of Virginia —
"And if you come among us, we will do with you
as we did with John Brown — hang you as high as
Haman. I say that as a Virginian."
Hon. Robert Toombs, of Georgia, made a violent
154 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
speech in the Senate, January, 1860, in which he
said : —
"Never permit this Federal Government to pass
into the traitorous hands of the Black Republican
party " It has already declared war against you and
your institutions. It every day commits acts of war
against you; it has already compelled you to arm
for your defence. Listen to 'no vain babblings,'
to no treacherous jargon about ' overt acts;' they
have already been committed. Defend yourselves ;
the enemy is at your door ; wait not to meet him at
the hearthstone, — meet him at the door-sill, and
drive him from the temple of liberty, or pull down
its pillars and involve him in a common ruin."
Such and, similar sentiments expressed at the
South, and even by Southerners when sojourning in
the free States, did much to widen the breach, and to
bring on the conflict of arms that soon followed.
THE night was dark, the rain descended in tor-
rents from the black and overhanging clouds,
and the thunder, accompanied with vivid flashes of
lightning, resounded fearfully, as I entered a negro
cabin in South Carolina. The room was filled with
blacks, a group of whom surrounded a rough board
table, and at it sat an old man holding in his hand a
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 155
watch, at which all were intently gazing. A stout
negro boy held a torch which lighted up the cabin,
and near him stood a Yankee soldier, in the Union
blue, reading the President's Proclamation of Free-
As it neared the hour of twelve, a dead silence
prevailed, and the holder of the time-piece said, —
"By de time I counts ten, it will be midnight an' de
Ian' will be free. One, two, three, four, five, six,
seven, eight, nine, — " just then a loud strain of
music came from the banjo, hanging upon the wall,
and at its sound the whole company, as if by pre-
vious arrangement, threw themselves upon their
knees, and the old man exclaimed, — "O, God, de
watch was a minit' too slow, but dy promises an' dy
mercy is allers in time ; dou did promise dat one of
dy angels should come an' give us de sign, an' shore
'nuff de sign did come. We's grateful, O, we's
grateful, O, Lord, send dy angel once moe to give
dat sweet sound."
At this point another strain from the banjo was
heard, and a sharp flash of lightning was followed
by a clap of thunder, such as is only heard in the
tropics. The negroes simultaneously rose to their
feet and began singing; finishing only one verse,
they all fell on their knees, and Uncle Ben, the old
white-haired man, again led in prayer, and such a
prayer as but few outside of this injured race could
have given. Rising to their feet, the leader com-
menced singing : — .
I56 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
" Oh ! breth-er-en, my way, my way's cloudy, my way,
Go send dem angels down.
Oh ! breth-er-en, my way, my way's cloudy, my way,
Go send dem angels down.
There's fire in de east an' fire in de west,
Send dem angels down.
An' fire among de Methodist,
O, send dem angels down.
Ole Sa-tan's mad, an' I am glad,
Send dem angels down.
He missed the soul he thought he had,
O, send dem angels down.
I'll tell 3^ou now as I tole afore,
Send dem angels down.
To de promised Ian' I'm bound to go,
O, send dem angels down.
Dis is de year of Jubilee,
Send dem angels down.
De Lord has come to set us free,
O, send dem angels down."
One more short prayer from Uncle Ben, and they
arose, clasped each other around the neck, kissed,
and commenced shouting, " Glory to God, we's free."
Another sweet strain from the musical instrument
was followed by breathless silence, and then Uncle
Ben said, "De angels of de Lord is wid us still, an'
dey is watching ober us, fer ole Sandy tole us moe
dan a mont ago dat dey would."
I was satisfied when the first musical strain came,
that it was merely a vibration of the strings, caused
by the rushing wind through the aperture between
the logs behind the banjo. Fearing that the blacks
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 57
would ascribe the music to some mysterious Provi-
dence, I plainly told them of the cause.
"Oh, no ser," said Uncle Ben, quickly, his eyes
brightening as he spoke, "dat come fum de angels.
We been specken it all de time. We know the
angels struck the strings of de banjo."
The news of the music from the instrument with-
out the touch of human hands soon spread through
the entire neighborhood, and in a short time the
cabin was jammed with visitors, who at once turned
their attention to the banjo upon the wall.
All sorts of stories were soon introduced to prove
that angelic visits were common, especially to those
who were fortunate enough to carry "de witness."
"De speret of de Lord come to me lass night in
my sleep an' tole me dat I were gwine to be free, an'
sed dat de Lord would sen' one of His angels down to
give me de warnin\ An' when de banjo sounded, I
knowecl dat my bressed Marster were a' keepin' His
word," said Uncle Ben.
An elderly woman amongst the visitors, drew a
long breath, and declared that she had been lifted
out of her bed three times on the previous night ; "I
knowed," she continued, "dat de angelic hoss was
hoverin' round about us."
"I dropped a fork to-day," said another, "an' it
stuck up in de floo\ right afore my face, an' dat is
allers good luck fer me."
"De mule kicked at me three times dis mornin'
an' he never did dat afore in his life," said another,
"an' I knowed good luck would come fum dat."
I58 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
" A rabbit run across my path twice as I come fum
de branch lass Saturday, an' I felt shor' dat some-
thin' mighty was gwine to happen," remarked Uncle
"I had a sign that showed me plainly that all of
you would be free," said the Yankee soldier, who
had been silent since reading the proclamation. AM
eyes were instantly turned to the white man from
the North, and half a dozen voices cried out simul-
taneously, "O, Mr. Solger, what was it? what was
it? what was it?"
"Well," said the man in blue, "I saw something
on a large white sheet — "
"Was it a goos?" cried Uncle Ben, before the
sentence was finished by the soldier. Uncle Ben's
question about a ghost, started quite a number to
their feet, and many trembled as they looked each
other in the face, and upon the soldier, who appeared
to feel the importance of his position.
Ned, the boy who was holding the torch, began
to tell a ghost story, but he was at once stopped
by Uncle Ben, who said, "Shet your mouf, don't
you see de gentmun ain't told us what he see in de
f white sheet?' "
"Well," commenced the soldier, again, "I saw r
on a large sheet of paper, a printed Proclamation
from President Lincoln, like the one I've just read,
and that satisfied me that you'd all be free to-day."
Every one was disappointed at this, for all were
prepared- for a ghost story, from the first remark
about the "white sheet" of paper. Uncle Ben
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 59
smiled, looked a little wise, and said, "I speck dat's
a Yankee trick j 7 ou's given us, Mr. Solger."
The laugh of the man in blue was only stopped
by Uncle Ben's striking up the following hymn, in
which the whole company joined : —
" A storm am brewin' in de Souf,
A storm am brewin' now.
Oh ! hearken den, and shut your mouf,
And I will tell you how :
And I will tell you how, ole boy,
De storm of fire will pour,
And make de black folks sing for joy,
As dey neber sing afore.
"So shut your mouf as close as deafh,
And all you niggas hole your breaf h,
And do de white folks brown!
M De black folks at de Norf am ris,
And dey am comin' down —
And comin' down, I know dey is,
To do de white folks brown !
Dey'll turn ole Massa out to grass,
And set de niggas free,
And when dat day am come to pass
We'll all be dar to see !
" So shut your mouf as close as deafh,
And all you niggas hole your breaf h,
And I will tell you how.
" Den all de week will be as gay
As am de Chris'mas time ;
160 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
We'll dance all night and all de day,
And make de banjo chime,
And make de banjo chime, I tink,
And pass de time away,
Wid 'nuf to eat and 'nuf to drink,
And not a bit to pay!
" So shut your mouf as close as deaf h,
And all you niggas hole your breaf h,
And make de banjo chime."
However, there was in this company, a man some
forty years old, who, like a large number of the
slaves, had been separated in early life from his
relatives, and was now following in the wake of the
Union army, hoping to meet some of those dear
This was Mark Myers. At the age of twenty he
fled from Winchester, Va., and although pursued by
bloodhounds, succeeded in making good his escape.
The pursuers returned and reported that Mark had
been killed. This story was believed by all.
Now the wart had opened the way, Mark had
come from Michigan, as a servant for one of the
officers ; Mark followed the army to Harper's Ferry,
and then went up to Winchester. Twenty years
had caused a vast change, and although born and
brought up there, he found but few that could tell
him anything about the old inhabitants.
"Go to an ole cabin at de edge of de town, an'
darh you'll find ole Unkel Bob Smart, an' he know
ebbrybody, man an boy, dat's lived here for forty
MY SOUTHERN HOME. l6l
years/' said an old woman of whom he inquired.
With haste Mark proceeded to the " ole cabin," and
there he found "Unkel Bob."
"Yer saj' yer name is Mark Myers, an' yer
mamma's name is Nancy," responded the old man to
the inquiries put to him by Mark.
"Yes," was the reply.
"Well, sonney," continued Uncle Bob, "de Myers
niggers was all sold to de traders 'bout de beginnin'
ov de war, septin some ov de ole ones dat dey
couldn't sell, an' I specks yer mamma is one ov dem
dat de traders didn't want. Now, sonney, yer go
over to de Redman place, an' it 'pers to me dat de
oman yer's lookin' fer is over darh."
Thanking Uncle Bob, Mark started for the farm
designated by the old man. Arriving there, he was
told that "Aunt Nancy lived over yarnder on de
wess road." Proceeding to the low log hut, he
entered, and found the woman.
"Is this Aunt Nancy Myers? "
"Yes, sar, dis is me."
"Had you a son named Mark?"
"Yes, dat I did, an' a good boy he were, poor
feller." And here the old woman wiped the tears
away with the corner of her apron.
" I have come to bring you some good news about
"Good news 'bout who ?" eagerly asked the woman.
"Good news about your son Mark."
"Oh ! no ; you can't bring me no good news 'bout
my son, septin you bring it from hebben, fer I feel
1 62 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
sartin dat he is darh, fer he suffered nuff when de
dogs killed him, to go to hebben."
Mark had already recognized his mother, and
being unable to longer conceal the fact, he seized
her by the hand and said :
"Mother, don't you know me? I am your long-
lost son Mark."
Amazed at the sudden news, the woman trembled
like a leaf, the tears'flowed freely, and she said :
"My son, Mark, had a deep gash across the
bottom of his left foot, dat he will take wid him
to his grave. Ef you is my son, show me de
As quick almost as thought, Mark pulled off his
boot, threw himself on the floor and held up the
foot. The old woman wiped her glasses, put them
on, saw the mark of the deep gash ; then she fainted,
and fell at her son's side.
Neighbors flocked in from the surrounding huts,
and soon the cabin was filled with an eager crowd,
who stood in breathless silence to catch every word
that should be spoken. As the old woman revived,
and opened her eyes, she tremblingly said :
"My son, it is you."
"Yes, mother," responded the son, "it is me.
When I ran away, old master put the dogs upon my
track, but I jumped into the creek, waded down for
some distance, and by that means the dogs lost the
scent, and I escaped from them."
"Well," said the old woman, "in my prayers I
axed God to permit me to meet you in hebben, an'
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 63
He promised me I should ; but He's bin better den
?t Now, mother, I have a home for you at the
North, and I have come to take you to it."
The few goods worth bringing away from the slave
hut were soon packed up, and ere the darkness had
covered the land, mother and son were on their way
to the North.
DURING the Rebellion and at its close, there
was one question that appeared to overshadow
all others ; this was Negro Equality. While the
armies were on the field of battle, this was the great
bugbear among many who warmly espoused the cause
of the Government, and who approved all its meas-
ures, with this single exception. They sincerely
wished the rebels to be despoiled of their property.
They wished every means to be used to secure our
success on the field, including Emancipation. But
they would grow pale at the words Negro Equality ;
just as if the liberating of a race, and securing to
them personal, political, social and religious rights,
made it incumbent upon us to take these people into
our houses, and give them seats in our social circle,
beyond what we would accord to other total strangers.
No advocate of Negro Equality ever demanded for
the race that they should be made pets. Protect
164 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
them in their natural, lawful, and acquired rights, is
all they ask.
Social equality is a condition of society that must
make itself. There are colored families residing in
every Southern State, whose education and social
position is far above a large portion of their neigh-
boring whites. To compel them to associate with
these whites would be a grievous wrong. Then,
away with this talk, which is founded in hatred to
an injured people. Give the colored race in the
South equal protection before the law, and then we
say to them —
" Now, to gain the social prize,
Paddle your own canoe."
But this hue and cry about Negro Equality gen-
erally emanates from a shoddy aristocracy, or an
uneducated class, more afraid of the negro's ability
and industry than of his color rubbing off against
them, — men whose claims to equality are so frail
that they must be fenced about, and protected by
every possible guard ; while the true nobleman fears
not that his reputation will be compromised by any
association he maj' choose to form. So it is with
many of those men who fear negro competition.
Conscious of their own inferiority to the mass of
mankind, and recognizing the fact that they exist
and thrive only by the aid of adventitious advan-
tages, they look with jealousy on any new rivals and
competitors, and use every means, fair and unfair,
to keep them out of the market.
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 6$
The same sort of opposition has been made to the
introduction of female labor into apy of the various
branches of manufacture. Consequently, women
have always been discriminated against. They have
been restricted to a small range of employments ;
their wages have been kept down ; and many who.
would be perfectly competent to perform the duties
of clerks or accountants, or to earn good wages in
some branch of manufacture, have been driven
by their necessities either to suicide or prosti-
But the nation, knowing the Southerners as they
did, aware of the deep hatred to Northern whites,
and still deeper hatred to their ex-slaves, who
aided in blotting out the institution of slavery, it
was the duty of the nation, having once clothed the
colored man with the rights of citizenship and prom-
ised him in the Constitution full protection for those
rights, to keep this promise most sacredly. The
question, while it is invested with equities of the
most sacred character, is not without its difficulties
and embarrassments. Under the polkry adopted by
the Democrats in the late insurrectionary States, the
colored citizen has been subjected to a reign of
terror which has driven him from the enjoyment of
his rights and leaves him as much a nonenity in
politics, unless he obeys their behests, as he was
when he was in slavery. Under this condition of
things to-day, while he if properly protected in his
rights would hold political supremacy in Mississippi,
Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama, and
MY SOUTHERN HOME.
Florida, he has little or no voice in either State or
Through fear, intimidation, assassination, and all
the horrors that barbarism can invent, every right
of the negro in the Southern States is to-day at an
end. Complete submission to the whites is the only
way for the colored man to live in peace.
Some time since there was considerable talk about
a "War of Races," but the war was all on the side
of the whites. The freedman has succumbed to
brute force, and hence the war of races is suspended ;
but let him attempt to assert his rights of citizen-
ship, as the white man does at the North, according
to the dictates of his own conscience and sense of
duty, and the bloody hands of the Ku-Klux and
White Leaguer will appear in all their horrors once
more — the w dream that has passed " would become
a sad reality again.
MMEDIATELY after the Rebellion ceased, the
freedmen throughout the South, desiring no
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 67
doubt to be fully satisfied that they were actually
free and their own masters, and could go where they
pleased, left their homes in the country -and took up
their abode in the cities and towns. This, as a
matter of course, threw them out of business, and
large numbers could be seen idly lolling about the
steps of the court house, town hall, or other county
buildings, or listlessly wandering through the streets.
That they were able to do this seemed to them posi-
tive evidence that they were really free. It was not
long, however, before they began to discover that
they could not live without work, and that the only
labor that they understood was in the country on
the plantations. Consequently they returned to the
farms, and in many instances to their former mas-
ters. Yet the old love for visiting the cities and
towns remained, and they became habituated to
leaving their work on Saturdays, and going to the
place nearest to them. This caused Saturday to
be called "nigger day," in most of the Southern
On these occasions they sell their cotton or other
produce, do their trading, generally having two jugs,
one for the molasses, the other for the whiskey, as
indispensible to the visit. The store-keepers get
ready on Saturday morning, putting their brightest
and most gaudy-colored goods in the windows or on
the front of their counters. Jew shops put their
hawkers at their doors, and the drinking saloons,
billiard saloons, and other places of entertainment,
kept for their especial accommodation, either by
l68 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
men of their own race or by whites, are all got
ready for an extra run.
Being on a visit to the State of Alabama, for a
while, I had a fair opportunity of seeing the colored
people in that section under various circumstances.
It was in the autumn and I was at Hunts ville. The
principal business houses of the city are situated
upon a square which surrounds the court house, and
at an early hour in the morning this is filled with
colored people of all classes and shades. On Sat-
urdays there are often fully two thousand of them
in the streets at one time. At noon the throng was
greatest, and up to that time fresh wagon-loads of
men, women, and children, were continually arriv-
ing. They came not only in wagons, but on horses,
and mules, and on foot. Their dress and general
appearance were very dissimilar. Some were dressed
in a queer looking garment made of pieces of old
army blankets, a few were apparelled in faded mili-
tary overcoats, which were liberally supplied with
patches of other material. The women, unlike their
husbands and other male relations, were dressed in
finery of every conceivable fashion. All of them
were decked out with many-colored ribbons. They
wore pinchbeck jewelry in large quantities. A few
of the young girls displayed some little taste in
the arrangement of their dress ; and some of them
wore expensive clothes. These, however, were
"city niggers," and found but little favor in the
eyes of the country girls. As the farmers arrived they
hitched their tumble-down wagons and bony mules
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 169
near the court house, and then proceeded to dispose
of the cotton and other products which they had
brought to town.
While the men are selling their effects, the women
go about from store to store, looking at the many
gaudy articles of wearing apparel which cunning
shop-keepers have spread out to tempt their fancy.
As soon as "the crop" is disposed of, and a negro
farmer has money in his pocket, his first act is to pay
the merchant from whom he obtained his supplies
during the year. They are improvident and ignor-
ant sometimes, but it must be said, to their credit,
that as a class they always pay their debts, the
moment they are in a position # to do so. The coun-
try would not be so destitute if a larger number of
white men followed their example in this respect.
When they have settled up all their accounts, and
arranged for future bills, they go and hunt up their
wives, who are generally on the look-out. They
then proceed to a dining saloon, call for an expen-
sive meal, always finishing with pies, puddings, or
preserves, and often with all three. When they
have satisfied their appetites, they go first to the
dry-goods stores. Here, as in other shops, they are
met by obsequious white men, who conduct them at
once to a back or side room, with which most of the
stores are supplied. At first I could not fathom the
mystery of this ceremony. After diligent inquiry,
however, I discovered that, since the war, unprinci-
pled store-keepers, some of them northern men,
have established the custom of giving the country
I/O MY SOUTHERN HOME.
negroes, who come to buy, as much whiskey as they
wish to drink. This is done in the back rooms I
have mentioned, and when the unfortunate black
men and women are deprived oj* half their wits by
the vile stuff which is served out to them, they are
induced to purchase all sorts of useless and expensive
. In their soberest moments average colored women
have a passion for bright, colored dresses which
amounts almost to madness, and, on such occasions
as I have mentioned, they never stop buying until
their money is exhausted. Their husbands have
little or no control over them, and are obliged,
whether they will or not, to see most of their Jhard
earnings squandered upon an unserviceable jacket,
or flimsy bonnet, or many-colored shawl. I saw one
black woman spend upward of thirty dollars on
millinery goods. As she received her bundle from
the cringing clerk she said, with a laugh :
"I 'clare to the Lord I'se done gone busted my old
"Never mind," said the clerk, "he can work for
"To be sure," answered the woman, and then
flounced out of the store.
The men are but little better than the women in
their extravagance. I saw a man on the square who
had bargained for a mule, which he very much
needed, and which he had been intending to pur-
chase as soon as he sold his cotton. He agreed to
pay fifty-seven dollars for the animal, and felt in his
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 171
pocket for the money, but could find only sixteen
dollars. Satisfying himself that he had no more,
he said :
"Well, well, ef dis ain't de most stravagant nigger
I ever see ; I sole two bales of cotton dis bressed
day, an' got one hundred and twenty-two dollars,
an' now I is got only dis." Here he gave a loud
laugh and said :
"Ole mule, I want you mighty bad, but I'll have
to let you slide dis time."
While the large dealers were selling their products
and emptying their wagons, those with vegetables
and fruits were vending them in different sections of
the city. A man with a large basket upon his
head came along through one of the principal streets
"Hellow, dar, in de cellar, I is got fresh aggs,
jess fum de hen, lay 'em dis mornin' fer de 'casian ;
here dey is, big hen's aggs, cheap. Now's yer time.
Dees aggs is fresh an' good, an' will make fuss-rate
agg-nog. Now's yer time fer agg-nogg wid new
aggs in it ; all laid dis mornin'." Here he set down
his basket as if to rest his head. Seeing a colored
servant at one of the windows, he called out :
"Here, sister, here's de fresh aggs ; here dey is,
big aggs fum big hen, much as she could do to lay
'em. Now's yer time ; don't be foolish an' miss dis
Just then, a man with a wagon-load of stuff came
along, and his voice completely shut out the man
with "de fresh aggs."
172 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
"Here," cried he, "here's yer nice winter squash,
taters, — Irish taters, sweet taters, Carliner taters.
Big House, dar, Big House, look out de winder;
here's yer nice cabbages, taters, sweet taters, squash.
Now's yer time to get 'em "cheap. To-morrow is
Christmas, an' yer'll want 'em, shore."
The man with the basket of eggs on his head, and
who had been silenced by the overpowering voice of
the "tater" man, called out to the other, "Now, I
reckon yer better go in anudder street. I's been
totin' dees aggs all day, an' I don't get in nobody's
"I want to know, is dis your street?" asked the
"No ; but I tank de Lord, I is got some manners
'bout me. But, den, I couldn't speck no more
fum you, fer I knowed you afore de war ; you was
one of dem cheap niggers, clodhopper, never taste
a bit of white bread till after de^vvar, an' den didn't
know 'twas bread."
"Well, den, ef you make so much fuss 'bout de
street, I'll go out of it ; it's nothin' but a second-
handed street, no how," said the "tater" man, and
drove off, crying, "taters, sweet taters, Irish taters,
Passing into a street where the colored people are
largely represented, I met another head peddler.
This man had a tub on his head and with a musical
voice was singing : —
" Here's yer chitlins, fresh an' sweet,
Who'll jine de Union ?
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 173
Young hog's chitlins hard to beat,
Who'll jine cle Union ?
Methodist chitlins, jest been biled,
Who'll jine de Union?
Right fresh chitlins, dey ain't spiled,
Who'll jine de Union ?
Baptist chitlins by de pound,
Who'll jine de Union ?
As nice chitlins as ever was found,
Who'll jine de Union?
"Here's yer chitlins, out of good fat hog; jess as
sweet chitlins as ever yer see. Dees chitlins will
make yer mouf water jess to look at ? em. Come an'
At this juncture the man took the tub from his
head, sat it down, to answer a woman who had
challenged his right to call them "Baptist chitlins."
"Duz you mean to say dat dem is Baptiss chitlins ?"
"Yes, mum, I means to say dat dey is real Baptist
chitlins, an' nuffin' else."
"Did dey come out of a Baptiss hog?" inquired
"Yes, mum, dem chitlins come out of a Baptist hog."
"How duz you make dat out?"
"Well, yer see, dat hog was raised by Mr. Rober-
son, a hard-shell Baptist, de corn dat de hog was
fatted on was also raised by Baptists, he was killed
and dressed by Geemes Boone, an' you all know dat
he'e as big a Baptist as ever lived."
"Well," said the woman, as if perfectly satisfied,
"lem-me have two poun's."
174 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
By the time the man had finished his explanation,
and weighed out her lot, he was completely sur-
rounded with women and men, nearly all of whom
had their dishes to get the choice morsel in,
"Now," said a rather solid-looking man. "Now,
I want some of de Meth-diss chitlins dat you's bin
"Here dey is, ser."
"What," asked the purchaser, "you take 'em all
out of de same tub ? "
"Yes,*' quickly replied the vender.
" Can you tell 'em by loot in' at 'em?" inquired
the chubby man.
" How duz you tell 'em ? "
"Well, ser, de Baptist chitlins has bin more in de
water, you see, an' dey's a little whiter."
"But, how duz I know dat dey is Meth-diss? "
" Well, ser, dat hog was raised by Uncle Jake
Bemis, one of de most shoutin' Methodist in de Zion
connection. Well, you see, ser, de hog pen was
right close to de house, an' dat hog was so knowin'
dat when Uncle Jake went to prayers, ef dat hog was
squeelin' he'd stop. Why, ser, you could hardly
get a grunt out of dat hog till Uncle Jake was dun
his prayer. Now, ser, ef dat don't make him a
Methodist hog, what will?"
" Weigh me out four pounds, ser."
"Here's your fresh chitlins, Baptist chitlins,
Methodist chitlins, all good an' sweet."
And in an hour's time the peddler, with his empty
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 175
tub upon his head, was making his way out of the
street, singing, —
" Methodist chitlins, Baptist chitlins,
Who'll jinede Union ?"
Hearing the colored cotton-growers were to have
a meeting that night, a few miles from the city, and
being invited to attend, I embraced the opportunity.
Some thirty persons were assembled, and as I en-
tered the room, I heard them chanting —
Sing yo' praises ! Bless de Lam!
Getting plenty money !
Cotton's gwine up — 'deed it am !
People, ain't it funny ?
Chorus. — Rise, shine, give God the glory.
Don't you tink hit's gwine to rain?
Maybe was, a little ;
Maybe one ole hurricane
'S bilin' in de kittle ! — Chorus.
Craps done fail in Egypt Ian' —
Say so in de papers ;
Maybe little slight o' hand
'Mong de specerlaters. — Chorus.
Put no faith in solemn views ;
Keep yo' pot a smokin',
Stan' up squah in yo' own shoes —
Keep de debble chokin' ! — Chorus.
176 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
Fetch me 'renin' dat tater juice !
Stop dat sassy grinnin' !
Turn dat stopper clean a-loose —
Keep yo' eye a skinnin' ! — Chorus.
Here's good luck to Egypt Ian' !
Hope she ain't a-failin' !
Hates to see my fellerman
Straddle ob de pailin* ! — Chorus.
The church filled up ; the meeting was well con-
ducted, and measures taken to protect cotton-raisers,
showing that these people, newly-made free, and
uneducated, were looking to their interests.
Paying a flying visit to Tennessee, I halted at
Columbia, the capital of Maury County. At Redg-
erford Creek, five miles distant from Columbia, lives
Joe Budge, a man with one hundred children. Never
having met one with such a family, I resolved to
make a call on the gentleman and satisfy my own
This distinguished individual is seventy-one years
old, large frame, of unadulterated blood, and spent
his life in slavery up to the close of the war.
"How many children have you, Mr. Budge?" I
" One hundred, ser," was the quick response.
"Are they all living ?"
" No, ser."
w How many wives had you ? "
" Thirteen, ser."
" Had you more than one wife living at any time ? "
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 177
"O, yes, ser, nearly all of dem ware livin' when
de war broke out."
" How was this, did the law allow you to have
more than one wife at a time ? "
"Well, yer see, boss, I waren't under de law, I
ware under marser."
M Were you married to all of your wives by a
"No, ser, only five by de preacher."
" How did you marry the others ? "
"Ober de broomstick an' under de blanket."
e< How was that performed ? "
" Well, yer see, ser, dey all 'sembles in de quar-
ters, an' a man takes hold of one en' of de broom
an' a 'oman takes hole of tudder en', an' dey holes
up de broom, an' de man an' de 'oman dats gwine to
get married jumps ober an' den slips under a blanket,
dey put out de light an' all goes out an' leabs em
"How near together were your wives?"
"Marser had fore plantations, an' dey live 'bout
on 'em, dem dat warn't sold."
"Did your master sell some of your wives?"
"O ! yes, ser, when dey got too ole to bare chil-
dren. You see, marser raised slaves fer de market,
an' my stock ware called mighty good, kase I ware
very strong, an' could do a heap of work."
"Were your children sold away from you?"
"Yes, ser, I see three of 'em sole one day fer two
thousand dollars a-piece ; yer see dey ware men
1/8 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
"Did you select your wives?"
"Dunno what you mean by dat word."
"Did you pick out the women that you wanted?"
"O! no, ser, I had nuthin ter say 'bout dat.
Marser allers get 'em, an' pick out strong, hearty
young women. Dat's de reason dat de planters
wanted to get my children, kase dey ware so helty."
"Did you never feel that it was wrong to get mar-
ried in such a light manner?"
"No, ser, kase yer see I toted de witness wid
"What do you mean by that?"
"Why, ser, I had religion, an' dat made me feel dat
all ware right."
"What was the witness that you spoke of?"
"De change of heart, ser, is de witness dat I totes
in my bosom ; an' when a man's got dat, he fears
nuthin, not eben de debble himsef."
"Then you know that.youVe got the witness?"
"Yes, ser, I totes it right here." And at this
point, Mr. Budge put his hand on his heart, and
looked up to heaven.
"I presume your master made no profession of
religion ? "
"O ! yes, ser, you bet he had religion. He ware
de fustest man in de church, an' he ware called
mighty powerful in prayer."
"Do any of your wives live near you now, except
the one that you are living with?"
"Yes, ser, dar's five in dis county, but dey's all
married now to udder men."
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 79
"Have you many grand-children?"
"Yes, ser, when my 'lations am all tergedder, dey
numbers 'bout fore hundred, near as I ken get at
" Do you know of any other men that have got as
many children as you?"
"No, ser, dey calls me de boss daddy in dis part
of de State,"
Having satisfied my curiosity, I bade Mr. Budge
SPENDING part of the winter of 1880 in Ten-
nessee, I began the study of the character of
the people and their institutions. I soon learned
that there existed an intense hatred on the part of
the whites, toward the colored population. Looking
at the past, this was easily accounted for. The
older whites, brought up in the lap of luxury, edu-
cated to believe themselves superior to the race
under them, self-willed, arrogant, determined, skilled
in the use of side-arms, wealthy — possessing the
entire political control of the State — feeling them-
selves superior also to the citizens of the free States, —
this people was called upon to subjugate themselves
to an ignorant, superstitious, and poverty-stricken,
race — a race without homes, or the means of obtain-
ing them ; to see the offices of State filled by men
l80 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
selected from this servile set made these whites feel
themselves deeply degraded in the eyes of the world.
Their power was gone, but their pride still remained.
They submitted in silence, but "bided their time,"
and said : "Never mind ; we'll yet make your hell a
The blacks felt their importance, saw their own
power in national politics, were interviewed by obse-
quious and cringing white men from the North —
men, many of them, far inferior, morally, to the
negro. Two-faced, second-class white men of the
South, few in number, it is true, hung like leeches
upon the blacks. Among the latter was a respectable
proportion of free men — free before the Rebellion;
these were comparatively well educated ; to these
and to the better class of freedmen the country was
to look for solid work. In the different State Legis-
latures, the great battle was to be fought, and to
these the interest of the South centred. All of the
Legislatures were composed mainly of colored men.
The few whites that were there were not only no
help to-the blacks, but it would have been better for
the character of the latter, and for the country at large,
if most of them had been in some State prison.
Colored men went into the Legislatures somewhat
as children go for the first time to a Sabbath school.
They sat and waited to see "the show." Many had
been elected by constituencies, of which not more
than ten in a hundred could read the ballots they
deposited ; and a large number of these Representa-
tives could not write their own names.
MY SOUTHERN HOME. l8l
This was not their fault. Their want of education
was attributable to the system of slavery through
which they had passed, and the absence of the edu-
cated intelligent whites of the South, was not the
fault of the colored men. This was a trying position
for the recently-enfranchised blacks, but nobly did
they rise above the circumstances. The speeches
made by some of these men exhibited a depth of
thought, flights of eloquence, and civilized states-
manship, that throw their former masters far in the
back-ground. Yet, amongst the good done, bills
were introduced and passed, giving State aid to un-
worthy objects, old, worn-out corporations re-gal-
vanized, bills for outrageous new frauds drawn up
by white men, and presented by blacks ; votes of
both colors bought up, bills passed, money granted,
and these ignorant men congratulated as "States-
While this "Comedy of Errors" was being per-
formed at the South, and loudly applauded at the
North, these very Northern men, who had yelled
their throats sore, would have fainted at the idea
of a negro being elected a member of their own
By and by came the reaction. The disfranchised
whites of the South submitted, but complained.
Northern men and women, the latter, always the
most influential, sympathized with the dog under-
neath. As the tide was turning, the white adven-
turers returned from the South with piles of green-
backs, and said that they had been speculating in
1 82 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
cotton ; but their neighbors knew that it was stolen,
for they had been members of Southern Legisla-
While Northern carpet-baggers were scudding off
to their kennels with their ill-gotten gains, the
Southern colored politicians were driving fast horses,
their wives in their fine carriages ; and men, who,
five years before were working in the cotton field
under the lash, could now draw their checks for
This extravagance of black men, followed by the
heavy taxes, reminded the old Southerners of their
defeat in the Rebellion ; it brought up thoughts of
revenge ; Northern sympathy emboldened them at
the South, which resulted in the Ku-Klux organiza-
tions, and the reign of terror that has cursed the
South ever since.
The restoring of the rebels to power and the sur-
rendering the colored people to them, after using
the latter in the war, and at the ballot box, creating
an enmity between the races, is the most bare-faced
ingratitude that history gives any account of.
After all, the ten years of negro Legislation in
the South challenges the profoundest study of man-
kind. History does not record a similar instance.
Five millions of uneducated, degraded people, with-
out any preparation whatever, set at liberty in a
single day, without shedding a drop of blood, burn-
ing a barn, or insulting a single female. They
reconstructed the State Governments that their
masters had destroyed ; became Legislators, held
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 83
State offices, and with all their blunders, surpassed
the whites that had preceded them. Future gener-
ations will marvel at the calm forbearance, good
sense, and Christian zeal of the American Negro of
the nineteenth century.
Nothing has been left undone to cripple their en-
ergies, darken their minds, debase their moral sense,
and obliterate all traces of their relationship to the
rest of mankind; and yet how wonderfully they
have sustained the mighty load of oppression under
which they have groaned for thousands of years.
After looking 'at the past history of both races, I
could easily see the cause of the great antipathy of
the white man to the black, here in Tennessee. This
feeling was most forcibly illustrated by an incident
that occurred one day while I was standing in front
of the Knoxville House, in Knoxville. A good-
looking, well-dressed colored man approached a
white man, in a business-like manner, and began
talking to him, but ere he had finished the question,
the white raised his walking stick, and with much
force, knocked off the black man's hat, and with
an oath said, "Don't you know better than to speak
to a white man with your hat on, where's your
manners?" The negro picked up his hat, held it in
his hand, and resumed the conversation.
I inquired of the colored gentleman with whom
I was talking, who the parties were; he replied, —
f The w 7 hite man is a real estate dealer, and the col-
ored man is Hon. Mr. , ex-member of the
1 84 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
This race feeling is still more forcibly set forth in
the dastardly attack of John Warren, of Huntingdon.
The wife of this ruffian, while passing through one
of the streets of that town, was accidentally run
against by Miss Florence Hayes, who offered ample
apology, and which would have been accepted by
any well-bred lady. However, Mrs. Warren would
not be satisfied with anything less than the punish-
ment of the young lady. Therefore, the two-fisted,
coarse, rough, uncouth ex-slave-holder, proceeded
to Miss Hayes' residence, gained admission, and with-
out a word of ceremony seized the young lady by
the hair, and began beating her with his fist, and
kicking her with his heavy boots.
Not until his victim lay prostrate and senseless at
his feet, did this fiend cease his blows. Miss Hayes
was teaching school at Huntingdon when this out-
rage was committed, and so severe was the barbarous
attack, that she was compelled to return to her home
at Nashville, where she was confined to her room for
several weeks. Yet, neither law nor public opinion
could reach this monster.
A few days after the assault, the following para-
graph appeared in the Huntingdon Vindicator:
"The occurrences of the past two weeks in the
town of Huntingdon should prove conclusively to
the colored citizens that there is a certain line exist-
ing between themselves and the white people which
they cannot cross with impunity. The incident
which prompts us to write this article, is the thrash-
ing which a white gentleman administered to a col-
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 85
ored woman last week. With no wish to foster h
spirit of lawlessness in this community, but actu-
ated by a desire to see the negro keep in his proper
place, we advise white men everywhere to stand up
for their rights, 2nd in no case yield an inch to the
encroachment of an inferior race."
"Stand up for their rights," with this editor, means
for the white ruffianly coward to knock down every
colored lady that does not give up the entire side-
walk to him or his wife.
It was my good fortune to meet on several occa-
sions Miss Florence T. Hayes, the young lady above
alluded to, and I never came in contact with a more
retiring, lady-like person in my life. She is a
student of Tennessee Central College, where she
bears an unstained reputation, and is regarded by
all who know her to possess intellectual gifts far
superior to the average white young women of
Spending a night in the country, we had just risen
from the supper-table when mine host said :
"Listen, Mingo is telling how he re-converted his
daughter; listen, you'll hear a rich story, and a true
one." Mr. Mingo lived in the adjoining room.
"Yes, Mrs. Jones, my darter has bin home wissi-
tin' me, an' I had a mighty trial wid her, I can tell
"What was the matter, Mr. Mingo?" inquired the
"Well, yer see, Fanny's bin a-livin' in Philama-
delfy, an' she's a mighty changed 'oman in her ways.
1 86 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
When she come in de house, she run up to her
mammy and say, — 'O ! mar, I'm exquisitely pleased
to greet you.' Den she run ter me an' sed, — 'O!
par,' an' kiss me. Well, dat was all well enuff, but
to see as much as two yards of her dress a-dragin'
behind her on de floor, it was too much, — an' it were
silk, too. It made my heart ache. Ses I,— 'Fanny,
you's very stravagant, dragin' all dat silk on de floor
in dat way.' c O!' sed she, 'that's the fashion,
par.' Den, yer see, I were uneasy fer her. I were
'fraid she'd fall, fer she had on a pair of boots wid
the highess heels I eber see in my life, which made
her walk as ef she were walkin' on her toes. Den,
she were covered all over wid ribbons and ruffles.
w When we set down to dinner, Fanny eat wid her
fork, an' when she see her sister put de knife in her
mouf, she ses, — 'Don't put your knife in your
mouth ; that's vulgar.' Nex' mornin', she took out
of her pocket some seeds, an' put 'em in a tin cup,
an' pour bilin' hot water on 'em. Ses I,— 'Fanny,
is yer sick, an' gwine to take some medicine ? '
"'O! no, par, it's quince seed, to make some
"'What is dat fer?' I axed.
'"Why, par, it's to make Grecian waves on my
forehead. Some call them " scallopes." We ladies
in the city make them. You see, par, we comb our
hair down in little waves, and 'the gum makes them
stick close to the forehead. All the w T hite ladies in
the city wear them ; it's all the fashion.'
"Well, yer see, Mrs. Jones, I could stand all dat,
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 8?
but when we went to prayers I ax Fanny to lead in
prayer ; an' when dat gal got on her knees and took
out of her pocket a gilt-edge book, and read a
prayer, den I were done, I ax myself is it possible
dat my darter is come to dat. So, when prayer
were over, I sed : 'Fanny, what kind of religion is
dat yer's got?' Sed she, — 'Why, par, I em a
Piscopion.' 'What is dat?' I axed. 'That's the
English Church service. Den yer's no more a
Methodist?' *0 ! no,' said she, c to be a Piscopion
is all the fashion.'"
"Stop, Mr. Mingo," sed Mrs. Jones; "what kind
of religion is dat? Is it Baptiss?"
"No, no," replied the old man; "ef it were Bap-
tiss, den I could a-stood dat, kase de Baptiss religion
will do when yer can't get no better. Fer wid all
dey faults, I believe de Baptiss ken get into hebben
by a tight squeeze. Kase, yer see, Mrs. Jones, I is
a Methodiss, an' I believes in ole-time religion, an' I
wants my chillen to meet me in hebben. So, I jess
went right down on my knees an' ax de Lord to
show me my jut}' about Fanny, fer I wanted to win
her back to cle ole-time religion. Well, de Lord
made it all plain to me, an' follerin' de Lord's mes-
sage to me, I got right up an' went out into de
woods an' cut some switches, an' put 'em in de barn.
So I sed to Fanny: 'Come, my darter, out to de
barn ; I want to give yer a present to take back to
Philamadelfy wid yer.'
? Yes, par,' said she, fer she was a-fixin' de c gum-
stick-um' on her hair. So I went to de barn, an'
1 88 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
very soon out come Fanny. I jess shut de door an*
fasten it, and took down my switches, an' ax her, —
*What kind of religion is dat yer's got?'
"'Piscopion, par.' Den I commence, an' I did
give dat gal sech a whippen, and she cry out, — c O !
par. O ! par, please stop, par.' Den I ax her, —
f What kind of religion yer's got?' 'Pis-co-copion,'
sed she. So I give her some moo, an' I ax her
again, — 'What kind of religion is yer got?' She
sed, — ' O ! par, O ! par.' Sed I, — f Don't call me
"par." Call me in de right way.' Den she said, —
? ! daddy, O ! daddy, I is a Methodiss. I is got
ole-tirne religion ; please stop an' I'll never be a
Piseopion any more.'
"So, yer see, Mrs. Jones, I converted dat gal right
back to de ole-time religion, which is de bess of all
religion. Yes, de Lord answered my prayer dat
time, wid de aid of de switches."
Whether Mingo's conversion of his daughter kept
her from joining the Episcopalians, on her return to
Philadelphia, or not, I have not learned.
THE moral and social degradation of the col-
ored population of the Southern States, is
attributable to two main causes, their mode of
living, and their religion. In treating upon these
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 89
causes, and especially the latter, I feel confident
that I shall throw myself open to the criticism of a
numerous, if not an intelligent class of the people
upon whom I write. The entire absence of a
knowledge of the laws of physiology, amongst the
colored inhabitants of the South is proverbial.
Their small unventilated houses, in poor streets and
dark alleys, in cities and towns, and the poorly-
built log huts in the country, are often not fit for
horses. A room fifteen feet square, with two, and
sometimes three beds, and three or four in a bed, is
common in Tennessee.
No bathing conveniences whatever, and often not
a wash dish about the house, is the rule. The most
inveterate eaters in the world, yet these people have
no idea of cooking outside of hog, hominy, corn
bread, and coffee. Yes, there is one more dish, it
is the negro's sun-flower in the South, cabbages.
It is usual to see a woman coming from the
market about five o'clock in the evening, with a
basket under her shawl, and in it a piece of pork,
bacon, or half a hog's head, and one or two large
heads of cabbage, and some sweet potatoes. These
are put to cook at once, and the odor from the boil-
ing pot may be snuffed in some distance off.
Generous to a fault, the host invites all who call
in, to "stop to supper." They sit down to the
table at about nine o'clock, spend fully an hour over
the first course, then the apple dumplings, after
that, the coffee and cake. Very few vegetables,
except cabbages and sweet potatoes, are ever used
190 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
by these people. Consequently they are not unfre-
quently ill from a want of the knowledge of the
laws of health. The assembling of large numbers
in the cities and towns has proved fatal.
Nearly all the statistics relating to the subject
now accessible are those coming from the larger
Southern cities, and these would seem to leave no
doubt that in such centres of population the mortality
of the colored greatly exceeds that of the white race.
In Washington, for instance, where the negroes have
enjoyed longer and more privileges than in most
Southern cities, the death-rate per thousand in the
year 1876 was for the whites 26.537 ; for the col-
ored 49.294; and for the previous year it was a
little worse for the blacks. In Baltimore, a very
healthy city, the total death-rate for 1875 was 21.67
in one thousand, of which the whites showed 19.80,
the colored 34.42. In a still healthier little city,
Chattanooga, Tenn., the statistics of the last five
years give the death-rate of the whites at 19.9 ; of
the colored, 37. The very best showing for the
latter, singularly enough, is made in Selma, Ala.
It stands per one thousand, white, 14.28; colored,
18.88. In Mobile, in the same State, the mortality
of the colored was just about double the rate among
the whites. New Orleans for 1875 gives the record
of 25.45 for the death-rate of the whites, to 39.69
for that of the colored.
Lecturers of their own race, male and female, upon
the laws of health, is the first move needed.
After settling the question with -his bacon and
MY SOUTHERN HOME. I9I
cabbage, the next dearest thing to a colored man, in
the South, is his religion. I call it a "thing,"
because they always speak of getting religion as if
they were going to market for it.
"You better go an' get religion, dat's what you
better do, fer de devil will be arter you one of dees
days, and den whar will yer be?" said an elderly
Sister, who was on her way to the "Revival," at St.
Paul's, in Nashville, last winter. The man to whom
she addressed these words of advice stopped, raised
his hat, and replied :
" Anty , I ain't quite ready to-nigKt, but I em gwine
to get it before the meetins close, kase when that
getting-up day comes, I want to have the witness ;
that I do."
"Yes, yer better, fer ef yer don't, dar'll be a
mighty stir 'mong de brimstone down dar, dat dey
will, fer yer's bin bad nuff ; I knows yer fum A to
izzard," returned the old lady.
The church was already well filled, and the minis-
ter had taken his text. As the speaker warmed up
in his subject, the Sisters began to swing their heads
and reel to and fro, and eventually began a shout.
Soon, five or six were fairly at it, which threw the
house into a buzz. Seats were soon vacated near
the shouters, to give them more room, because the
women did not wish to have their hats smashed in
by the frenzied Sisters. As a woman sprung up in
her seat, throwing up her long arms, with a loud
scream, the lady on the adjoining seat quickly left,
and did not stop till she got to a safe distance.
I92 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
"Ah, ha!" exclaimed a woman near by, "'fraid of
your new bonnet ! Ain't got much religion, I reckon.
Specks you'll have to come out of that if j r ou want to
save vour soul."
"She thinks more of that hat now, than she does
of a seat in heaven," said another.
"Never mind," said a third, "when she gets de
witness, she'll drap dat hat an' shout herself out of
The shouting now became general ; a dozen or
more entering into it most heartily. These demon-
strations increased or abated, according to move-
ments of the leaders, who were in and about the
pulpit; for the minister had closed his discourse,
and first one, and then another would engage in
prayer. The meeting was kept up till a late hour,
during which, four or five sisters becoming ex-
hausted, had fallen upon the floor and lay there, or
had been removed by their friends.
St. Paul is a fine structure, with its spire bathed
in the clouds, and standing on the rising land in
South Cherry Street, it is a building that the citizens
may well be proud of.
In the evening I went to the First Baptist Church,
in Spruce Street. This house is equal in size and
finish to St. Paul. A large assembly was in attend-
ance, and a young man from Cincinnati was intro-
duced by the pastor as the preacher for the time
being. He evidently felt that to set a congregation
to shouting, was the highest point to be attained, and
he was equal to the occasion. Failing to raise a
MY SOUTHERN HOME. I93
good shout b} r a reasonable amount of exertion, he
took from his pocket a letter, opened it, held it up
and began, "When you reach the other world you'll
be hunting for your mother, and the angel will read
from this paper. Yes, the angel will read from this
For fully ten minutes the preacher walked the
pulpit, repeating in a loud, incoherent manner, "And
the angel will read from this letter." This created
the wildest excitement, and not less than ten or fif-
teen were shouting in different parts of the house,
while four or five were going from seat to seat shak-
ing hands with the occupants of the pews. "Let
dat angel come right down now an' read dat letter,"
shouted a Sister, at the top of her voice. This was
the signal for loud exclamations from various parts
of the house. "Yes, yes, I want's to hear the letter."
"Come, Jesus, come, or send an angel to read the
letter." "Lord, send us the power." And other
remarks filled the house. The pastor highly compli-
mented the effort, as one of " great power," which
the audience most cordially endorsed. At the close
of the service the strange minister had hearty shakes
of the hand from a large number of leading men and
women of the church. And this was one of the
most refined congregations in Nashville.
It will be difficult to erase from the mind of the
negro of the South, the prevailing idea that out-
ward demonstrations, such as, shouting, the loud
"amen," and the most boisterous noise in prayer,
are not necessary adjuncts to piety.
194 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
A young lady of good education and refinement,
residing in East Tennessee, told me that she had
joined the church about a year previous, and not
until she had one shouting spell, did most of her
Sisters believe that she had "the Witness."
"And did you really shout?" I inquired.
"Yes. I did it to stop their mouths, for at nearly
every meeting, one or more would say, ? Sister Smith,
I hope to live to see you show that you've got the
Witness, for where the grace of God is, there will
be shouting, and the sooner you comes to that point
the better it will be for you in the world to come.' "
To get religion, join a benevolent society that will
pay them "sick dues " when they are ill, and to bury
them when they die, appears to be the beginning,
the aim, and the end of the desires of the colored
people of the South, In Petersburg I was informed
that there were thirty-two different secret societies
in that city, and I met persons who held membership
in four at the same time. While such associations
are of great benefit to the improvident, they are, upon
the whole, very injurious. They take away all stimu-
lus to secure homes and to provide for the future.
As a man observed to me, "I b'longs ter four
s'ieties, de ? Samaritans,' de'Gallalean Fisherman,'
de 'Sons of Moses,' an' de 'Wise Men of cle East.'
All of dee$ pays me two dollars a week when I is
sick, an' twenty-five dollars ter bury me when I dies.
Now ain't dat good?"
I replied that I thought it would be far better, if
he put his money in a home and educated himself."
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 95
"Well," said he, "I is satisfied, kas, ef I put de
money in a house, maybe when I got sick some
udder man might be hangin' roun' wantin' me ter die,
an' maybe de ole 'oman might want me gone too, an'
not take good kere of me, an' let me die an' let de
town bilry me. But, now, yer see, de s'iety takes
kere of me aud burries me. So, now, I am all right
fer dis worl' an' I is got de Witness, an' dat fixes me
This was all said in an earnest manner, showing
that the brother had an eye to business.
The determination of late years to ape the whites
in the erection of costly structures to worship in, is
very injurious to our people. In Petersburg, Va.,
a Baptist society pulled down a noble building, which
was of ample size, to give place to a more fashionable
and expensive one, simply because a sister Church
had surpassed them in putting up a house of worship.
It is more consistent with piety and Godly sincerity
to say that we don't believe there is any soul-saving
and God-honoring element in such expensive and
useless ornaments to houses in which to meet and
humbly worship in simplicity and sincerity the true
and living God, according to his revealed will.
Poor, laboring people who are without homes of
their own, and without (in many instances) steady
remunerative employment, can ill afford to pay high
for useless and showy things that neither instruct nor
edify them. The maimer, too, in which the money
is raised, is none of the best, to say the least of it.
For most of the money, both to build the churches
I96 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
and to pay the ministers, is the hard earnings of men
in the fields, at service, or by our women over the
wash-tub. When our people met and worshipped
in less costly and ornamental houses, their piety and
sincerity was equally as good as now, if not better.
With more polish within and less ornament without,
we would be more spiritually and less worldly-
Revival meetings, and the lateness of the hours at
which they close, are injurious to both health and
morals. Many of the churches begin in October,
and continue till the holidays ; and commencing
again the middle of January, they close in April.
They often keep the meetings in till eleven o'clock •
sometimes till twelve ; and in some country places,
they have gone on later. I was informed of a young
woman who lost her situation — a very good one —
because the family could not sit up till twelve o'clock
every night to let her in, and she would not leave her
meeting so as to return earlier. Another source of
moral degradation lies in the fact that a very large
number of men, calling themselves "missionaries,"
travel the length and breadth of the country, stopping
longest where they are best treated. The "missionary"
is usually armed with a recommendation from some
minister in charge, or has a forged one, it makes
but little difference which. He may be able to read
enough to line a hymn, but that is about all.
His paper that he carries speaks of him as a man
"gifted in revival efforts," and he at once sets about
getting up a revival meeting. This tramp, for he
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 197
cannot be called anything else, has with him gener-
ally a hymn-book, and an old faded, worn-out car-
pet-bag, with little or nothing in it. He remains in
a place just as long as the people will keep him,
which usually depends upon his ability to keep up
an excitement. I met a swarm of these lazy fellows
all over the South, the greatest number, however, in
The only remedy for this great evil lies in an edu-
cated ministry, which is being supplied to a limited
extent. It is very difficult, however, to induce the
uneducated, superstitious masses to receive and sup
port an intelligent Christian clergyman.
The great interest felt in the South for education
amongst the colored people often produce scenes of
humor peculiar to the race. Enjoying the hospi-
tality of a family in West Virginia, I was not a little
amused at the preparation made for the reception of
their eldest son, who had been absent six months at
Wilberforce College. A dinner with a turkey,
goose, pair of fowls, with a plentiful supply of side
dishes, and apple dumplings for dessert, was on the
table at the hour that the son was expected from the
An accident delayed the cars to such an extent
that we were at the table and dinner half through,
when suddenly the door flew open, and before us
stood the hope of the family. The mother sprang
up, raised her hands and exclaimed, "Well, well, ef
dar ain't Peter, now. De Lord bress dat chile, eh,
an' how college-like he seems. Jess look at him,
I98 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
don't he look edecated ? Come right here dis minit
an' kiss your mammy."
Daring this pleasant greeting, Peter stood near
the door where he had entered ; dressed in his
college rig, small cap on his head, bag swung at his
side, umbrella in the left hand, and a cigar in the
right, with a smile on his countenance, he looked
the very personification of the Harvard student.
The father of the family, still holding his knife and
fork, sat with a glow upon his face, while the two
youngsters, taking advantage of the occasion, were
helping themselves to the eatables.
At the bidding, "Come an' kiss your mammy,"
Peter came forward and did the nice thing to all
except the youngest boy, who said, "I can't kiss yer
now, Pete, wait till I eat dees dumplins, den I'll kiss
Dinner over, and Peter gave us some humorous
accounts of college life, to the great delight of his
mother, who would occasionally exclaim, "Bress de
chile, what a hard time he muss hab dar at de college.
An' how dem boys wory's him. Well, people's got
to undergo a heap to git book larnin', don't dey ? "
• At night the house was filled, to see the young
man from college.
N the olden time, ere a blow was struck in the
Rebellion, the whites of the South did the think-
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 1 99
ing, and the blacks did the work; the master
planned, and the slave executed. This unfitted
both for the new dispensation that was fast coming,
and left each helpless, without the other.
But the negro was the worst off of the two, for he
had nothing but his hands, while tne white man had
his education, backed up by the lands that he owned.
Who can wonder at the negro's improvidence and
his shiftlessness, when he has never had any syste-
matic training — never been compelled to meet the
cares of life ?
This was the black man's misfortune on gaining
his freedom, and to learn to save, and to manage
his own affairs, appeared to all to be his first duty.
The hope of every one, therefore, seemed to
centre in the Freedman's Saving Bank. "This is
our bank," said they ; and to this institution the in-
telligent and the ignorant, the soldier fresh from the
field of battle, the farmer, the day laborer, and the
poor washerwoman, all alike brought their earnings
and deposited them in the Freedman's Bank. This
place of safety for their scanty store seemed to be
the hope of the race for the future. It was a stimu-
lus for a people who had never before been permitted
to enter a moneyed institution, except at his master's
heels, to bring or to take away the bag of silver that
his owner was too proud or too lazy to "tote."
So great was the negro's wish to save, that the
deposits in the Freedman's Bank increased from
three hundred thousand dollars, in 1866, to thirty-
one million dollars, in 1872, and to fifty-five million
200 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
dollars, in 1874. This saving of earnings became
infectious throughout the South, and the family that
had no bank-book was considered poorly off. These
deposits were the first instalments* toward purchasing
homes, or getting ready to begin some mercantile or
mechanical business. The first announcement, there-
fore, of the closing of the Freedman's Saving Bank
had a paralyzing effect upon the blacks everywhere.
Large numbers quit work ; the greater portion
sold their bank-books for a trifle, and general dis-
trust prevailed throughout the community. Many
who had purchased small farms, or cheap dwellings
in cities and towns, and had paid part of the pur-
chase money, now became discouraged, surrendered
their claims, gave up the lands, and went about as if
every hope was lost. It was their first and their last
dealings with a bank.
These poor people received no sympathy whatever,
from the whites of the South. Indeed, the latter
felt to rejoice, for the negro obtained his liberty
through the Republican party, and the Freedmen's
Bank was a pet of that party.
The negro is an industrious creature, laziness is
not his chief fault, and those who had left their
work, returned to it. But the charm for saving was
"No more Banks for me, I'll use my money as I
get it, and then I'll know where it has gone to,"
said an intelligent and well-informed colored man to
This want of confidence in the saving institutions
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 201
of the country, has caused a general spending of
money as soon as obtained ; and railroad excursions,
steamboat rides, hiring of horses and buggies on
Sabbath, and even on week days, have reaped large
sums from colored people all over the South. Verily,
the failure of the Freedman's Saving Bank was a
National calamity, the influence of which will be felt
for many years.
Not satisfied with robbing the deluded people out
of the bulk of their hard earnings, commissioners
were appointed soon after the failure, with "appropri-
ate" salaries, to look after the interest of the depos-
itors, and these leeches are eating up the remainder.
Whether truly or falsely, the freedmen were led
to believe that the United States Government was
responsible to them for the return of their money
with interest. Common justice would seem to call
for some action in the matter.
THOSE who recollect the standing of Virginia
in days gone by, will be disappointed in her at
the present time. The people, both white and black,
are poor and proud, all living on their reputation
when the " Old Dominion " was considered the first
State in the Union.
I viewed Richmond with much interest. The
effect of the late Rebellion is still visible everywhere,
202 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
and especially amongst those who were leaders in
society thirty years ago. I walked through the
market and observed several men with long, black
cloth cloaks, beneath which was a basket. Into this
they might be seen to deposit their marketing for
I noticed an old black man bowing very gracefully
to one of these individuals, and I inquired who he
was. "Ah, massa," said the negro, "dat is Major
, he was bercy rich before de war, but de war
fotch him right down, and now he ain't able to have
servants, and he's too proud to show his basket, so .
he covers it up in his cloak." And then the black
man smiled and shook his head significantly, and
walked on. Standing here in the market place, one
beholds many scenes which bring up the days of
slavery as seen by the results. Here is a girl with
a rich brown skin ; after her comes one upon whose
cheek a blush can just be distinguished ; and I saw
one or two young women whose cream-like complex-
ion would have justly excited the envy of many a
New York belle. The condition of the women of
the latter class is most deplorable. Beautiful almost
beyond description, mauy of them educated and
refined, with the best white blood of the South in
their veins, it is perhaps only natural that they
should refuse to mate themselves with coarse and
ignorant black men. Socially, they are not recog-
nized by the whites ; they are often without money
enough to buy the barest necessaries of life ; honor-
ably they can never procure sufficient means to
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 203
gratify their luxurious tastes ; their mothers have
taught them how to sin ; their fathers they never
knew ; debauched white men are ever ready to take
advantage of their destitution, and after living a
short life of shame and dishonor they sink into early
and unhallowed graves. Living, they were despised
by whites and blacks alike ; dead, they are mourned
I went to hear the somewhat celebrated negro
preacher, Rev. John Jasper. The occasion was one
of considerable note, he having preached, and by
request, a sermon to prove that the "Sun do move,"
and now he was to give it at the solicitation of
forty-five members of the Legislature, who were
present as hearers.
Those who wanted the sermon repeated wer.e all
whites, a number of whom did it for the fun that
they expected to enjoy, while quite a respectable
portion, old fogy in opinion, felt that the preacher
On reaching the church, I found twelve carriages
and two omnibuses, besides a number of smaller
vehicles, lifting the street, half an hour before the
opening of the doors. However, the whites who
had come in these conveyances had been admitted
by the side doors, while the streets were crowded
with blacks and a poorer class of whites.
By special favor I was permitted to enter before
the throng came rushing in. Members of the Legis-
lature were assigned the best seats, indeed, the entire
centre of the house w;as occupied by whites, who,
204 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
I was informed, were from amongst the F. F. Vs.
The church seats one thousand, but it is safe to say
that twelve hundred were present at that time.
Rev. John Jasper is a deep black, tall, and slim,
with long arms and somewhat round-shouldered, and
sixty-five years old. He has preached in Richmond
for the last forty -five years, and is considered a very
good man. He is a fluent speaker, well versed in
Scriptures, and possesses a large amount of wit. The
members of Jasper's church are mainly freedmen, a
lanre number of whom are from the countrv, com-
monty called "corn-field niggers."
The more educated class of the colored people, I
found, did not patronize Jasper. They consider
him behind the times, and called him "old fogy."
Jasper looked proudly upon his audience, and well
he might, for he had before him some of the first
men and women of Virginia's capital. But these
people had not come to be instructed, they had
really come for a good laugh and were not disap-
Jasper had prepared for the occasion, and in his
opening service saved himself by calling on "Brother
Scogin" to offer prayer. This venerable Brother
evidently felt the weight of responsibility laid upon
him, and discharged the duty, at least to the entire
satisfaction of those who were there to be amused.
After making a very sensible prayer, Scogin con-
cluded as follows : — "O Lord, we's a mighty abused
people, we's had a hard time in slavery, we's been
all broken to pieces, we's bow-legged, knock-kneed,
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 205
bandy-shanked, cross-eyed, and a great many of us
is hump-backed. Now, Lord, we wants to be
mendid up, an' we wants you to come an' do it.
Don't send an angel, for dis is too big a job for an
angel. You made us, O Lord, an' you know our
wants, an' you can fix us up as nobody else can.
Come right down yourself, and come quickly." At
this sentence Jasper gave a loud groan, and Scogin
ceased. After service was over I was informed that
when Jasper finds any of his members a little too
long-winded in prayer, singing, or speaking, he gives
that significant groan, which they all well understand,
It means "enough."
The church was now completely jammed, and it
was said that two thousand people sought admission
in vain. Jasper's text was "God is a God of War."
The preacher, though wrong in his conclusions, was
happy in his quotations, fresh in his memory, and
eloquently impressed his views upon his hearers.
He said, "If the sun does not move, why did
Joshua command it to 'stand still?' Was Joshua
wrong? If so, I had rather be wrong with* Joshua
than to be right with the modern philosophers. If
this earth moves, the chimneys would be falling,
tumbling in upon the roofs of the houses, the moun-
tains and hills would be changing and levelling
down, the rivers would be emptying out. You and I
would be standing on our heads. Look at that moun-
tain standing out yonder ; it stood there fifty years
ago when I was a boy. Would it be standing there
if the earth was running round as they tell us?"
206 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
"No, blessed God," cried a Sister. Then the
laugh eauie, and Jasper stood a moment with his
arms folded. He continued : "The sunrises in the
east and sets in the west ; do you think any one can
make me believe that the earth can run around the
world in a single day so as to give the sun a chance
to set in the west ? "
"No, siree, that doctrine don't go down with
At this point the preacher paused for breath, and
I heard an elderly white in an adjoining pew, say,
in a somewhat solemn tone — "Jasper is right, the
Taking up his bandanna, and wiping away the copi-
ous perspiration that flowed down his dusky cheeks,
the preacher opened a note which had just been laid
upon the desk, read it, and continued, — "A question
is here asked me, and one that I am glad to answer,
because a large number of my people, as well as
others, can't see how the children of Israel were able
to cross the Red Sea in safety, while' Pharaoh and
his hosts were drowned. I have told you again and
again that everything was possible with God. But
that don't seem to satisfy you.
"Those who doubt these things that you read in
Holy Writ are like the infidel, — won't believe unless
you can see the cause. Well, let me tell you.
The infidel says that when the children of Israel
crossed the Red Sea, it was in winter, and the sea
was frozen over. This is a mistake, or an inten-
tional misrepresentation." Here the preacher gave
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 207
vivid accounts of the sufferings and flight of the
children of Israel, whose case he likened to the
colored people of the South. The preacher wound
up with an eloquent appeal to his congregation not
to be led astray by "these new-fangled notions."
Great excitement is just now taking hold of the
people upon the seeming interest that the colored
inhabitants are manifesting in the Catholic religion.
The Cathedral in Richmond is thrown open every
Sunday evening to the blacks, when the bishop him-
self preaches to them, and it is not strange that the
eloquent and persuasive voice of Bishop Kean, who
says to the negro, "My dear beloved brethren,"
should captivate these despised people. I attended
a meeting at the large African Baptist Church, where
the Rev. Moses D. Hoge, D.D., was to preach to
the colored people against Catholicism. Dr. Hoge,
though noted for his eloquence, and terribly in earn-
est, could not rise higher in his appeals to the blacks
than to say "men and women" to them.
The contrast was noticeable to all. After hearing
Dr. Hoge through I asked an intelligent colored man
how he liked his sermon. His reply was : "If Dr.
Hoge is in earnest, why don't he open his own church
and invite us in and preach to us there ? Before he
can make any impression on us, he must go to the
Catholic Church and learn the spirit of brotherly
One Sunday, Bishop Kean said to the colored
congregation, numbering twelve hundred, who had
come to hear him : " There are distinctions in the
208 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
business and in the social world, but there are no
distinctions in the spiritual. A soul is a soul before
God, may it be a black or a white man's. God is no
respecter of persons, the Christian Church cannot
afford to be. The people who would not let you
learn to read before the war, are the ones now that
accuse me of trying to use you for political pur-
"Now, my dear beloved brethren, when I attempt
to tell you how to vote, you need not come to hear
me preach any more."
The blacks have been so badly treated in the past
that kind words and social recognition will do much
to win them in the future, for success will not depend
so much upon their matter as upon their maimer ;
not so much upon their faith as upon the more
potent direct influence of their practice. In this the
Catholics of the South have the inside track, for the
prejudice of the Protestants seems in a fair way to
let the negro go anywhere except to heaven, if they
have to go the same way.
NORFOLK is the place above all others, where
the K old-Verginny-never-tire " colored people
of the olden time may be found in their purity.
Here nearly everybody lives out of doors in the
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 209
warm weather. This is not confined to the blacks.
On the sidewalks, in front of the best hotels, under
the awnings at store-doors, on the door-sills of pri-
vate houses, and on the curbstones in the streets,
may be seen people of all classes. But the blacks
especially give the inside of the house a wide berth
in the summer.
I went to the market, for I always like to visit the
markets on Saturday, for there you see "life among
the lowly," as you see it nowhere else. Colored
men and women have a respectable number of stalls
in the Norfolk market, the management of which
does them great credit.
But the costermongers, or street-venders, are the
men of music. "Here's yer nice vegables — green
corn, butter beans, taters, Irish taters, new, jess bin
digged : come an' get 'em while dey is fresh. Now's.
yer time ; squash, Calafony quash, bess in de worl' ;
come an' git 'em now ; it'll be Sunday termorrer, an*
I'll be gone to church. Big fat Mexican peas,
marrer fat squash, Protestant squash, good Catholic
vegables of all kinds."
Now's yer time to git snap-beans,
Okra, tomatoes, an* taters gwine by ;
Don't be foolish virgins ;
Hab de dinner ready
When de master he comes home,
Snap-beans gwine by.
Just then the vender broke forth in a most musical
2IO .MY SOUTHERN HOME.
Oh ! Hannah, boil dat cabbage down,
Hannah, boil 'em down,
And turn dem buckwheats round and round,
Hannah, boil 'em down.
It's almost time to blow de horn,
Hannah, boil 'em down,
To call de boys dat hoe de corn,
Hannah, boil 'em down.
Hannah, boil 'em down,
De cabbage just pulled out de ground,
Boil 'em in de pot,
And make him smoking hot.
Some like de cabbage made in krout,
Hannah, boil 'em down,
Dey eat so much dey get de gout,
Hannah, boil 'em down,
Dey chops 'em up and let dem spoil,
Hannah, boil 'em down ;
I'd rather hab my cabbage boiled,
Hannah, boil 'em down.
Some say dat possum's in de pan,
Hannah, boil 'em down,
Am de sweetest meat in all de land,
Hannah, boil 'em down ;
But dar is dat ole cabbage head,
Hannah, boil 'em down,
I'll prize it, children, till I's dead, '
Hannah, boil 'em down.
This song, given in his inimitable manner, drew
the women to the windows, and the crowd around
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 211
the vegetable man in the street, and he soon disposed
of the contents of his cart. Other venders who
"toted" their commodities about in baskets on their
heads, took advantage of the musical man's companj^
to sell their own goods. A woman with some really
fine strawberries, put forth her claims in a very inter-
esting song; the interest, however, centered more
upon the manner than the matter : —
" I live fore miles out of town,
I am gwine to glory.
My strawberries are sweet an' soun',
I am gwine to glory.
I fotch 'em fore miles on my head,
I am gwine to glory.
My chile is sick, an' husban' dead,
I am gwine to glory.
Now's de time to get 'em cheap,
I am gwine to glory.
Eat 'em wid yer bread an' meat,
I am gwine to glory.
Come sinner get down on your knees,
I am gwine to glory.
Eat dees strawberries when you please,
I am gwine to glory."
Upon the whole, the colored man of Virginia is a
very favorable physical specimen of his race ; and
he has peculiarly fine, urbane manners. A stranger
judging from the surface of life here, would undoubt-
edly say that that they were a happy, well-to-do
people. Perhaps, also, he might say: "Ah, I see.
The negro is the same everywhere — a hewer of
212 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
wood, a peddler of vegetables, a wearer of the
waiter's white apron. Freedom has not altered his
Such a judgment would be a very hasty one.
Nations are not educated in twenty years. There
are certain white men who naturally gravitate also
to these positions ; and we must remember that it is
only the present generation of negroes who have
been able to appropriate any share of the nobler
blessings of freedom. But the colored boys and
girls of Virginia are to-day vastly different from
what the colored boys and girls of fifteen or twenty
years ago were. The advancement and improve-
ment is so great that it is not unreasonable to predict
from it a very satisfactory future.
The negro population here are greatly in the
majority, and formerly sent a member of their own
color to the State Senate, but through bribery and
ballot-box stuffing, a white Senator is now in Rich-
mond. One negro here at a late election sold his
vote for a barrel of sugar. After he had voted and
taken his sugar home, he found it to be a barrel of
sand. I learn that his neighbors turned the laugh
upon him, and made him treat the whole company ,
which cost him five dollars.
I would not have it supposed from what I have
said about the general condition of the blacks in
Virginia that there are none of a higher grade.
Far from it, for some of the best mechanics in the
State are colored men. In Eichmond and Peters-
burg they have stores and carry on considerable
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 213
trade, both with the whites and their own race.
They are doing a great deal for education ; many
send their sons and daughters North and West for
better advantages; and they are building some of
the finest churches in this State. The Second Bap-
tist Church here pulled down a comparatively new
and fine structure, last year, to replace it with a
more splendid place of worship, simply because a
rival church of the same denomination had surpassed
them. I viewed the new edifice, and feel confident
it will compare favorably with any church on the
Back Bay, Boston.
The new building will seat three thousand persons,
and will cost, exclusive of the ground, one hundred
thousand dollars, all the brick and wood work of
which is being done by colored men.
THE education of the negro in the South is
the most important matter that we have to deal
with at present, and one that will claim precedence
of all other questions for many years to come.
When, soon after the breaking out of the Rebellion,
schools for the freedmen were agitated in the North,
and teachers dispatched from New England to go
down to teach the "poor contrabands," I went before
the proper authorities in Boston, and asked that a
214 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
place be given to one of our best-educated colored
young ladies, who wanted to devote herself to the
education of her injured race, and the offer was re-
jected, upon the ground that the "time for sending
colored teachers had not come." This happened
nearly twenty years ago. From that moment to the
present, I have watched with painful interest the
little progress made by colored men and women to
become instructors of their own race in the Southern
Under the spur of the excitement occasioned by
the Proclamation of Freedom, and the great need of
schools for the blacks, thousands of dollars were
contributed at the North, and agents sent to Great
Britain, where generosity had no bounds. Money
came in from all quarters, and some of the noblest
white young women gave themselves up to the work
of teaching the freedmen.
During the first three or four years, this field for
teachers was filled entirely by others than members
of the colored race, and yet it was managed by the
"New England Freedmen's Association," made up in
part by some of our best men and women.
But many energetic, educated colored young
women and men, volunteered, and, at their own ex-
pense, went South and began private schools, and
literally forced their way into the work. This was
followed by a few appointments, which in every case
proved that colored teachers for colored people was
the great thing needed. Upon the foundations laid
by these small schools, some of the most splendid
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 21 5
educational institutions in the South have sprung up.
Fisk, Howard, Atlanta, Hampton, Tennessee Central,
Virginia Central, and Straight, are some of the most
prominent* These are all under the control and
management of the whites, and are accordingly con-
ducted upon the principle of whites for teachers and
blacks for pupils. And yet each of the above insti-
tutions are indebted to the sympathy felt for the
negro, for their very existence. Some of these col-
leges give more encouragement to the negro to
become an instructor, than others ; but, none how-
ever, have risen high enough to measure the black
man independent of his color.
At Petersburg I found a large, fine building for
public schools for colored youth ; the principal, a
white man, with six assistants, but not one colored
teacher amongst them. Yet Petersburg has turned
out some most excellent colored teachers, two of
whom I met at Suffolk, with small schools. These
young ladies had graduated with honors at one of
our best institutions, and yet could not obtain a posi-
tion as teacher in a public school, where the pupils
were only their own race.
At Nashville, the School Board was still more
unjust, for they employed teachers who would not
allow their colored scholars to recognize them on the
streets, and for doing which, the children were repri-
manded, and the action of the teachers approved
by the Board of Education.
It is generally known that all the white teachers
in our colored public schools feel themselves above
216 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
their work ; and the fewest number have any com-
munication whatever with their pupils outside the
school-room. Upon receiving their appointments
and taking charge of their schools some of them have
been known to announce to their pupils that under
no circumstances were they to recognize or speak to
them on the streets. It is very evident that these
people have no heart in the work they are doing, and
simply from day to day go through the mechanical
form of teaching our children for the pittance they
receive as a salary. While teachers who have no
interest in the children they instruct, except for the
salary they get, are employed in the public schools
and in the Freedman's Colleges, hundreds of colored
men and women, who are able to stand the most
rigid examination, are idle, or occupying places far
beneath what they deserve.
It is to be expected that the public schools will, to
a greater or less extent, be governed by the political
predilections of the parties in power ; but we ought
to look for better things from Fisk, Hampton, How-
ard, Atlanta, Tennessee Central and Virginia Cen-
tral, whose walls sprung up by money raised from
appeals made for negro education.
There are, however, other educational institutions
of which I have not made mention, and which deserve
the patronage of the benevolent everywhere. These
are : Wilberforce, Berea, Payne Institute, in South
Carolina, Waco College, in Texas, and Storer Col-
lege, at Harper's Ferry,
Wilberforce is well known, and is doing a grand
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 217
work. It has turned out some of the best of our
scholars, — men whose labors for the elevation of
their race cannot be too highly commended.
Storer College, at Harper's Ferry, looks down
upon the ruins of "John Brown's Fort." In the
ages to come, Harper's Ferry will be sought out by
the traveller from other lands. Here at the conflu-
ence of the Potomac and the Shenandoah Rivers, on
a point just opposite the gap through which the
united streams pass the Blue Ridge, on their course
toward the ocean, stands the romantic town , and a little
above it, on a beautiful eminence, is Storer, an institu-
tion, and of whose officers I cannot speak too highly.
I witnessed, with intense interest, the earnest
efforts of these good men and women, in their glori-
ous work of the elevation of my race. And while
the benevolent of the North are giving of their
abundance, I would earnestly beg them not to forget
Storer College, at Harper's Ferry.
The other two, of which I have made mention,
are less known, but their students are numerous and
well trained. Both these schools are in the South,
and both are owned and managed by colored men,
free from the supposed necessity of having white
men to do their thinking, and therein ought to
receive the special countenance of all who believe in
giving the colored people a chance to paddle their
I failed, however, to find schools for another part
of our people, which appear to be much needed.
For many years in the olden time the South wns
21 8 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
noted for its beautiful Quadroon women. Bottles of
ink, and reams of paper, have been used to portray
the "finely-cut and well-moulded features," the
"silken curls," the "dark and brilliant eyes," the
"splendid forms," the "fascinating smiles," and "ac-
complished manners" of these impassioned and vol-
uptuous daughters of the two races, — the unlawful
product of the crime of human bondage. When we
take into consideration the fact that no safeguard was
ever thrown around virtue, and no inducement held
out to slave-women to be pure and chaste, we will
not be surprised when told that immorality pervaded
the domestic circle in the cities and towns of the
South to an extent unknown in the Northern States.
Many a planter's wife has dragged out a miserable
existence, with an aching heart, at seeing her place
in the husband's affections usurped by the unadorned
beauty and captivating smiles of her waiting-maid.
Indeed, the greater portion of the colored women,
in the days of slavery, had no greater aspiration
than that of becoming the finely-dressed mistress of
some white man. Although freedom has brought
about a new order of things, and our colored women
are making rapid strides to rise .above the dark
scenes of the past, yet the want of protection to our
people since the old-time whites have regained power,
places a large number of the colored young women
of the cities and towns at the mercy of bad colored
men, or worse white men. To save these from des-
truction, institutions ought to be established in every
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 219
Mrs. Julia G. Thomas, a very worthy lady, deeply
interested in the welfare of her sex, has a small in-
stitution for orphans and friendless girls, where they
will have a home, schooling, and business training,
to fit them to enter life with a prospect of success.
Mrs. Thomas' address is 190 High Street, Nashville,
AMONG the causes of that dissatisfaction of the
colored people in the South which has pro-
duced the exodus therefrom, there is one that lies
beneath the surface and is concealed from even an
astute observer, if he is a stranger to that section.
This cause consists in certain legislative enactments
that have been passed in most of the cotton States,
ostensibly for other purposes, but really for the pur-
pose of establishing in those States a system of peon-
age similar to, if not worse than, that which prevails
in Mexico. This is the object of a statute passed
by the Legislature of Mississippi, in March, 1878.
The title of the act, whether intentionally so or not,
is certainly misleading. It is entitled "An act to
reduce the judiciary expenses of the State. " But
how it can possibly have that effect is beyond human
wisdom to perceive. It, however, does operate,
and is used in such a way as to enslave a large
number of negroes, who have not even been con-
victed of the slightest offence against the laws.
220 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
The act provides that "all persons convicted and
committed to the jail of the county, except those
committed to jail for contempt of court, and except
those sentenced to imprisonment in the Penitentiary,
shall be delivered to a contractor, to be by him kept
and worked under the provisions of this act ; and
all persons committed to jail, except those not enti-
tled to bail, may also, with their consent, be com-
mitted to said contractor and worked under this act
before conviction." But Sect. 5, of the act provides
ample and cogent machinery to produce the neces-
sary consent on the part of the not yet convicted pris-
oner to work for the contractor. In that section it
is provided "that if any person committed to jail for
an offence that is bailable shall not consent to be
committed to the safe keeping and custody of said
contractor, and to work for said contractor, and to
work for the same under this act, the prisoner shall
be entitled to receive only six ounces of bacon, or
ten ounces of beef, and one pound of bread and
This section also provides that any prisoner not
consenting to work before his conviction for the con-
tractor, and that too, without compensation, "If said
prisoner shall afterward be convicted, he shall,
nevertheless, work under said contractor a sufficient
term to pay all cost of prosecution, including the
regular jail fees for keeping and feeding him.
The charge for feeding him, upon the meagre bill
of fare above stated, is twenty cents a day. Now,
it cannot be denied that the use made of this law
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 22 1
is to deprive the negro of his natural right to
choose his own employer; and in the following
manner: Let us suppose a case, and such cases
are constantly occurring. A is a cotton planter,
owns three or four thousand acres of land, and has
forty, fifty, or one hundred negro families on his
plantation. At the expiration of the year, a negro
proposes to leave the plantation of A, and try to
better his condition by making a more advantageous
bargain with B, or C, for another year. If A can
prevent the negro from leaving him in no other way,
this statute puts full power in his hands. A trumps
up some petty charge against the negro, threatens
to have him arrested and committed to jail. The
negro knows how little it will take to commit him to
jail, and that then he must half starve on a pound of
bread and water and six ounces of bacon a day, or
work for the contractor for nothing until he can
be tried ; and when tried he must run the risk of
conviction, which is not slight, though he may be
ever so innocent. Avarice — unscrupulous avarice
— is pursuing him, and with little power to resist,
there being no healthy public sentiment in favor of
fair play to encourage him, he yields, and becomes
the peon of his oppressor.
I found the whipping-post in full operation in
Virginia, and heard of its being enforced in other
States. I inquired of a black man what he thought
of the revival of that mode of punishment. He re-
plied, w Well, sar, I don't ker for it, kase dey treats
us all alike ; dey whips whites at de poss jess as dey
222 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
do de blacks, an' dat's what I calls equality before
A friend of mine meeting a man who was leaving
Arkansas, on account of the revival of her old slave
laws, the following conversation occurred, showing
that the oppression of the blacks extends to all the
"You come from Arkansas, I understand ?"
"What wages do you generally get for your
"Since about '68, we've been getting about two
bits a day — that's twenty cents. Then there are
some people that work by the month, and at the
end of the month they are either put off or cheated
out of their money entirely. Property and goods are
worth nothing to a black man there. He can't get
his price for them ; he gets just what the white man
chooses to give him. Some people who raise from
ten to fifteen bales of cotton sometimes have hardly
enough to cover their body and feet. This goes on
while the white man gets the price he asks for his
goods. This is unfair, and as long as we pay taxes
we want justice, right, and equality before the
"What taxes do you pay?"
"A man that owns a house and lot has to pay
about twenty-six dollars a year ; and if he has a
mule worth about one hundred and fifty dollars they
tax him two dollars and a half extra. If they see
you have money — say you made three thousand
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 223
dollars — you'd soon see some bill about taxes, land
lease and the other coming in for about two thou-
sand of it. They charge a black man thirteen dol-
lars where they would only charge a white man one
or two. Now, there's a man," pointing to a portly
old fellow, "who had to run away from his house,
farm, and all. It is for this we leave Arkansas.
We want freedom, and I say, 'Give me liberty or
give me death.' We took up arms and fought for
our country, so we ought to have our rights."
"How about the schooling you receive?"
"We can't vote, still we have to pay taxes to sup-
port schools for the others. I got my education in
New Orleans and paid for it, too. I have six chil-
dren, and though I pay taxes not one of them has
any schooling from the public schools. The taxes
and rent are so heavy that the children have to work
when they are as young as ten years. That's the
way it is down there."
"Did you have any teachers from the North?"
"There were some teachers from the North who
€ame.down there, but they were run out. They
were paid so badly and treated so mean that they
had to go."
"What county did you live in?"
" How many schools were in that county ? "
"When do they open?"
" About once every two years and keep open for
two or three weeks. And then they have a certain
224 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
kind of book for the children. Those that have
dogs, cats, hogs, cows, horses, and all sorts of ani-
mals in them. They keep the children in these and
never let them get out of them."
"Have you any colleges in the State for colored
"No, they haven't got any colleges and don't allow
any. The other day I asked a Republican how was
it that so many thousands of dollars were taken for
colleges and we didn't get any good of it? He said, *
'The bill didn't pass, somehow.' And now I guess
those fellows spent all that money."
"As a general thing, then, the people are very
ignorant ? "
"Yes, sir; the colored man that's got education is
like some people that's got religion — he hides it
under a bushel; if* he didn't, and stood up for his
rights as a citizen, he would soon become the game
of some of the Ku-Klux clubs."
Having succeeded in getting possession of power
in the South, and driving the black voters from the
polls at elections, and also having them counted in
National Representation, the ex-rebels will soon have
a power which they never before enjoyed. Had
the slaveholders in 1860 possessed the right of rep-
resenting their slaves fully instead of partly in Con-
gress and in the Electoral College, they would have
ruled this country indefinitely in the interest of
slavery. It was supposed that by the result of the
war, freedom profited and the slaveholding class lost
power forever. But the very act which conferred
MY SOUTHERN HOME. . 225
the full right of representation upon the three mil-
lion freedmen, by the help of the policy, has
placed an instrument in the hands of the rebel con-
spirators which they will use to pervert and defeat
the objects of the Constitutional amendments.
Through this policy the thirty-five additional elec-
toral votes given to the freedmen have been "turned
over to the Democratic party." Aye, more than
that; tfcey have been turned over to the ex-rebels ,
who will use them in the cause of oppression scarcely
second in hatefulness to that of chattel slavery. In
a contest with the solid South, therefore, the party
of freedom and justice will have greater odds to
overcome than it did in 1860, and the Southern
oligarchs hold a position which is well nigh im-
pregnable for whatever purpose they choose to
Of the large number of massacres perpetrated
upon the blacks in the South, since the ex-rebels
have come into power, I give one instance, which
will show the inhumanity of the whites. This out-
rage occurred in Gibson County, Tennessee. The
report was first circulated that the blacks in great
numbers were armed, and were going to commit
murder upon the whites. This created the excite-
ment that it was intended to, and the whites in large
bodies, armed to the teeth, w T ent through Gibson, and
adjoining counties, disarming the blacks, taking
from them their only means of defence, and arrest-
ing all objectionable blacks that they could find,,
taking them to Trenton and putting them in jail.
226 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
The following account of the wanton massacre, is
from the Memphis Appeal : —
"About four hundred armed, disguised, mounted
men entered this town at two o'clock this morning,
proceeded to the jail, and demanded the keys of the
jailor, Mr. Alexander. He refused to give up the
keys. Sheriff Williams, hearing the noise, awoke
and went to the jail, and refused to surrender the
keys to the maskers, telling them that he did not
have the keys. They cocked their pistols, and he
refused again to give them the keys, whereupon the
Captain of the company ordered the masked men to
draw their pistols and cock them, swearing they
would have the keys or shoot the jailor. The jailor
dared them to shoot, and said they were too cow-
ardly to shoot. They failed to do this. Then they
threatened to tear down the jail or get the prisoners.
The jailor told them that rather than they should tear
down the jail he would give them the keys if they
would go with him to his office. The jailor did this
because he saw that the men were determined to
break through. 'They were all disguised. Then
they came,' says the Sheriff, 'and got the keys from
my office, and giving three or four yells, went to the
jail, unlocked it, took out the sixteen negroes who
had been brought here from Pickettsville (Gibson),
and, tying their hands, escorted them away. They
proceeded on the Huntingdon road without saying a
word, and in fifteen minutes I heard shots. In com-
pany with several citizens I proceeded down the
road in the direction taken by the men and prison-
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 227
ers, and just beyond the river bridge, half a mile
from town, I found four negroes dead, on the
ground, their bodies riddled with bullets, and two
wounded. We saw no masked men. Ten negroes
yet remain unaccounted for. Leaving the dead
bodies where we found them, we brought the two
wounded negroes to town, and summoned medical
aid. Justice J. M. Caldwell held an inquest on the
bodies, the verdict being in accordance with the facts
that death resulted from shots inflicted by guns in
the hands of unknown parties. The inquest was
held about eight o'clock this morning. These are
all the facts relative to the shooting I can give you.
I did my duty to prevent the rescue of the negroes,
but found it useless to oppose the men, one of whom
said there were four hundred in the band.'
"Night before last the guard that brought the
prisoners from Pickettsville remained. No fears or
intimations of the attempted rescue were then heard
of or feared. This morning, learning that four or
five hundred armed negroes, on the Jackson road,
were marching into town to burn the buildings and
kill the people, the citizens immediately organized,
armed, and prepared for active defence, and went
out to meet the negroes, scouted the whole country
around but found no armed negroes. The citizens
throughout the country commenced coming into town
by hundreds. Men came from Union City, Kenton,
Troy, Eutherford, Dyer Station, Skull Bone, and
the whole country, but found no need of their ser-
vices. The two wounded negroes will die. The
228 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
bodies of the ten other negroes taken from the jail
were found in the river bottom about a mile from
K We blush for our State, and with the shame of
the bloody murder, the disgraceful defiance of law,
of order, and of decency full upon us, are at a loss
for language with which to characterize a deed that,
if the work of Comanches or Modocs, would arouse
every man in the Union for a speedy vengeance on
the perpetrators. To-day, we must hold up to mer-
ited reprobation and condemnation the armed men
who besieged the Trenton Jail, and wantonly as
wickedly, without anything like justification, took
thence the unarmed negroes there awaiting trial by
the courts, and brutally shot them to death; and.
too, with a show of barbarity altogether as unneces-
sary as the massacre was unjustifiable. To say that
we are not, in any county in the State, strong enough
to enforce the law, is to pronounce a libel upon the
whole Commonwealth. We are as a thousand to
one in moral and physical force to the negro ; we
are in possession of the State, of all the machinery
of Government, and at a time more momentous than
any we ever hope to see again have proved our
capacity to sustain the law's executive officers and
maintain the laws. Why, then, should we now, in
time of profound peace, subvert the law and defy its
administrators? Why should we put the Govern-
ment of our own selection under our feet, and defy
and set at naught the men whom we have elected to
enforce the laws, and this ruthlessly and savagely,
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 229
without any of the forms, even, that usually attend
on the administration of the wild behests of Judge
Lynch? And all without color of extenuation; for
no sane man who has regard for the truth will pre-
tend to say that because the unfortunate negroes
were arrested as the ringleaders of a threatening
and armed band that had fired upon two white men,
they were, therefore, worthy of death, and without
the forms of law, in a State controlled and governed
by law-abiding men."
No one was ever punished, or even an attempt
made to ferret out the perpetrators of this foul
murder. And the infliction of the death punish-
ment, by "Lynch Law," on colored persons for the
slightest offence, proves that there is really no
abatement in this hideous race prejudice that pre-
vails throughout the South.
YEARS ago, when the natural capabilities of
the races were more under discussion than now,
the negro was always made to appear to greater dis-
advantage than the rest of mankind. The public
mind is not yet free from this false theory, nor has
the colored man done much of late years to change
this opinion. Long years of training of any people
to a particular calling, seems to fit them for that
230 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
vocation more than for any other. Thus, the Jews,
inured to centuries of money-lending and pawn*
broking, they, as a race, stick to it as if they were
created for that business alone.
The training of the Arabs for long excursions
through wild deserts, makes them the master roam-
ers of the world. The Gypsies, brought up to
camping out and trading in horses, send forth the
idea that they were born for it. The black man's
position as a servant, for many generations, has not
only made the other races believe that is his legiti-
mate sphere, but he himself feels more at home in a
white apron and a towel on his arm, than with a quill
behind his ear and a ledger before him.
That a colored man takes to the dining-room and
the kitchen, as a duck does to water, only proves
that like other races, his education has entered into
his blood. This is not theory, this is not poetry;
but stern truth. Our people prefer to be servants.
This may be to some extent owing to the fact that
the organ of alimentativeness is more prominently
formed in the negro's make-up, than in that of
almost any other people.
During several trips in the cars between Nashville
and Columbia, I noticed that the boy who sold news-
papers and supplied the passengers with fruit, 4 had a
basket filled with candy and cakes. The first time
I was on his car he offered me the cakes, which I
declined, but bought a paper. Watching him I ob-
served that when colored persons entered the car, he
would offer them the cakes which they seldom failed
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 23 1
to purchase. One day as I took from him a news-
paper, I inquired of him why. he always offered
cakes to the colored passengers. His reply was : —
"Oh ! they always buy something to eat."
"Do they purchase more cakes than white people ? "
"Yes," was the response.
"Why do they buy your cakes and candy?" I
"Well, sir, the colored people seem always to be
hungry. Never see anything like it. They don't
buy papers, but they are always eating."
Just then we stopped at Franklin, and three col-
ored passengers came in. "Now," continued the
cake boy, "you'll see how they'll take the cakes,"
and he started for them, but had to pass their seats
to shut the door that had been left open. In going
by, one of the men, impatient to get a cake, called,
"Here, here, come here wid }'er cakes."
The peddler looked at me and laughed. He sold
each one a cake, and yet it was not ten o'clock in
Not long since, in Massachusetts, I succeeded in
getting a young man pardoned from our State prison,
where he had been confined for more than ten years,
and where he had learned a good trade.
I had already secured him a situation where he
was to receive three dollars per day to commence
with, with a prospect of an advance of wages.
As we were going to his boarding place, and after
I had spent some time in advising him to turn over
a new leaf and to try and elevate himself, we passed
232 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
one of our best hotels. My ward at once stopped,
began snuffing as if he "smelt a mice." I looked at
him, watched his countenance as it lighted up and
his eyes sparkled ; I inquired what was the matter.
With a radiant smile he replied, W I smell good
wittles ; what place is that ? "
"It is the Eevere House," I said.
* Wonder if I could get a place to wait on table
there? " he asked.
I thought it a sorry comment on my efforts to
instil into him some self-respect. This young man
had learned the shoemaking trade, and at a McKay
machine, I understood that he could earn from three
dollars and a half to five dollars per day.
A dozen years ago, two colored young men com-
menced the manufacture of one of the necessary
commodities of the day. After running the estab-
lishment some six or eight months successfully, they
sold out to white men, who now employ more than
one hundred hands. Both of the colored men are
at their legitimate callings ; one is a waiter in a pri-
vate house, the other is a porter on a sleeping
The failure of these young mefi to carry on a
manufacturing business was mainly owing to a want
of training, in a business point of view. No man
is fit for a profession or a trade, unless he has
Extravagance in dress is a great and growing evil
with our people. I am acquainted with a lady in
Boston who wears a silk dress costing one hundred
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 233
and thirty dollars. She lives in two rooms, and her
husband is a hair-dresser.
Since the close of the war, a large number of
freedmen settled in Massachusetts, where they became
servants, the most of them. These people surpass
in dress, the wealthiest merchants of the city.
A young man, now a servant in a private house,
sports a sixty-dollar overcoat while he works for
twenty dollars per month.
A woman who cooks for five dollars per week, in
Arlington Street, swings along every Sunday in a
hundred-dollar silk dress, and a thirty-dollar hat.
She cannot read or write.
Go to our churches on the Sabbath, and see the
silk, the satin, the velvet, and the costly feathers,
and talk with the uneducated wearers, and you will
see at once the main hindrance to self-elevation.
To elevate ourselves and our children, we must
cultivate self-denial. Repress our appetites for lux-
uries and be content with clothing ourselves in gar-
ments becoming our means and our incomes. The
adaptation and the deep inculcation of the principles
of total abstinence from all intoxicants. The latter
is a pre-requisite for success in all the relations of
Emerging from the influence of oppression, taught
from early experience to have no confidence in the
whites, we have little or none in our own race, or
even in ourselves.
We need more self-reliance, more confidence in
the ability of our own people ; more manly inde-
234 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
pendence, a higher standard of moral, social, and
literary culture. Indeed, we need a union of effort
to remove the dark shadow of ignorance that now
covers the land. While the barriers of prejudice
keep us morally and socially from educated white
society, we must make a strong effort to raise our-
selves from the common level where emancipation
and the new order of things found us.
We possess the elements of successful develop-
ment ; but we need live men and women to make
this development. The last great struggle for our
rights ; the battle for our own civilization, is entirely
with ourselves, and the problem is to be solved by
We must use our spare time, day and night, to
educate ourselves. Let us have night schools for
the adults, and not be ashamed to attend them. En-
courage our own literary men and women ; subscribe
for, and be sure and pay for papers published by
colored men. Don't stop to inquire if the paper
will live ; but encourage it, and make it live.
With the exception of a few benevolent societies,
we are separated as far from each other as the east is
from the west.
UNION is strength, has long since passed into
a proverb. The colored people of the South
should at once form associations, combine and make
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 235
them strong, and live up to them by all hazards.
All civilized races have risen by means of combina-
tion and co-operation. The Irishman, the German,
the Frenchman, all come to this country poor, and
they stay here but a short time before you see them
succeeding in some branch of business. This
success is not the result of individual effort — it is
the result of combination and co-operation. What-
ever an Irishman has to spend he puts in the till of
one of his own countrymen, and that accounts for
A German succeeds in this country because all his
fellow-countrymen patronize him in whatever busi-
ness he engages. A German will put himself to
inconvenience, and go miles out of his way to spend
money with one of his own race and nationality.
With all his fickleness, the Frenchman never for-
gets to find out and patronize one of his own people.
Italians flock together and stand by each other, right
or wrong. The Chinese are clannish, and stick by
one another. The Caucasian race is the foremost
in the world in everything that pertains to advanced
civilization, — simply owing to the fact that an Eng-
glishman never passes the door of a countryman to
patronize another race ; and a Yankee is a Yankee
all the days of his life, and will never desert his
colors. But where is the Negro?
A gentlemanly and well-informed colored man
came to me a few days since, wishing to impart to
me some important information, and he commenced
by saying: "Now, Doctor, what I am going to tell
236 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
you, you may rely on its being true, because I got
it from a white man — no nigger told me this."
On Duke Street, in Alexandria, Va., resides an
Irishman, who began business in that place a dozen
years ago, with two jugs, one filled with whiskey,
the other with molasses, a little pork, some vegeta-
bles, sugar and salt. On the opposite side of the
street was our good friend, Mr. A. S. Perpener.
The latter had a respectable provision store, minus
the whiskey. Colored people inhabited the greater
part of the street. Did they patronize their own
countryman? Not a bit of it. The Irishman's
business increased rapidly ; he soon enlarged his
premises, adding wood and coal to his salables.
Perpener did the same, but the blacks passed by and
went over on the other side, gave their patronage to
the son of Erin, who now has houses "to let," but
he will not rent them to colored tenants.
The Jews, though scattered throughout the world,
are still Jews. Their race and their religion they
have maintained in all countries and all ages. They
never forsake each other. If they fall out, over
some trade, they make up in time to combine against
the rest, of mankind. Shylock says: "I will buy
with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with
you, and so following ; but I will not eat with you,
drink with you, nor pray with you." Thus, the
Jew, with all his love of money, will not throw off
his religion to satisfy others, and for this we honor
It is the misfortune of our race that the impres-
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 237
sion prevails that "one nigger is as good as another."
Now this is a great error ; there are colored men in
this country as far ahead of others of their own race
as Webster and Sumner were superior to the average
Then, again, we have no confidence in each
other. We consider the goods from the store of a
white man necessarily better than can be purchased
from a colored man.
No man ever succeeded who lacked confidence in
himself. No race ever did or ever will prosper or
make a respectable history which has no confidence
in its own nationality.
Those who do not appreciate their own people
will not be appreciated by other people. If a white
man will pat a colored man on the shoulder, bow to
him, and call him "Mr.," he will go a mile out of his
way to patronize him, if in doing so he passes a
first-class dealer of his own race. I asked a colored
man in Columbia if he patronized Mr. 'Frierson.
He said, "No." I inquired, "Why?" "He never
invited me to his house in his life," was the reply.
"Does the white man you deal with invite you?"
"Then, why do you expect Mr. Frierson to
" Oh ! he's a nigger and I look for more from him
than I do from a white man." So it is clear that
this is the result of jealousy.
The recent case of the ill-treatment of Cadet
Whittaker, at West Point, shows most clearly the
238 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
unsuspecting character of the negro, when dealing
with whites. Although Whittaker had been repeat-
edly warned that an attack was to be made upon
him, and especially told to look out for the assault
the very night that the crime was committed, he laid
down with his room-door unfastened, went off into
a sound sleep, with no weapon or means of defence
near him. This was, for all the world, like a negro.
A Yankee would have had a revolver with every
chamber loaded ; an Irishman would have slept with
one eye open, and a stout shillalah in his right hand,
and in all probability somebody would have • had
a nice funeral after the attack. But that want of
courage and energy, so characteristic of the race,
permitted one of the foulest crimes to be perpetrated
which has pome to light for years.
But the most disgraceful part in this whole trans-
action lies with the Court of Investigation, now being
conducted at West Point under the supervision of
United States officials. The unfeeling and unruly
cadets that outraged Whittaker, no doubt, laid a deep
plan to cover up their tracks, and this was to make it
appear that their victim had inflicted upon himself his
own injuries. And acting upon this theory, one of
the young scamps, who had no doubt been rehearsing
for the occasion, volunteered to show the Court how
the negro could have practised the imposition.
And, strange to say, these sage investigators sat
quietly and looked on while the young ruffian laid
down upon the floor, tied himself, and explained how
the thing was done.
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 239
If the victim had been a white man and his perse-
cutors black, does any one believe for a moment that
such a theory would have been listened to ?
Generations of oppression have done their work
too thoroughly to have its traces wiped away in
a dozen years. The race must be educated out of
the ignorance in which it at present dwells, and
lifted to a level with other races. Colored lawyers,
doctors, artisans and mechanics, starve for patron-
age, while the negro is begging the white man
to do his work* Combinations have made other
races what they are to-day.
The great achievements of scientific men could
not have been made practical by individual effort.
The great works of genius could never have bene-
fited the world, had those who composed them been
mean and selfish. All great and useful enterprises
have succeeded through the influence and energy
I would not have it thought that all colored men
are to be bought by the white man's smiles, or to be
frightened by intimidation. Far from it. In all the
Southern States we have some of the noblest speci-
mens of mankind, — men of genius, refinement, courage
and liberality, ready to do and to die for the race.
ADVICE upon the formation of Literary Asso-
ciations, and total abstinence from all intoxi-
cations is needed, and I will give it to you in this
240 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
chapter. The time for colored men and women to
organize for self-improvement has arrived. Moral,
social, and intellectual development, should be the
main attainment of the negro race. Colored people
have so long been in the habit of aping the whites,
and often not the better class either, that I fear this
characteristic in them, more than anything else. A
large percentage of them being waiters, they see a
great deal of drinking in white society of the
"Upper Ten." Don't follow their bad example*
Take warning by their degradation.
During tlie year 1879, Boston sent four hundred
drunken women to the Sherborn prison ; while two
private asylums are full, many of them from Boston's
first families. Therefore, I beseech you to never
allow the intoxicant to enter your circles.
It is bad enough for men to lapse into habits of
drunkenness. A drunken husband, a drunken
father — only those patient, heart-broken, shame-
faced wives and children on whom this great cross
of suffering is laid, can estimate the misery which it
But a drunken girl — a drunken wife — a drunken
mother — is there for woman a deeper depth ? Home
made hideous — children disgraced, neglected, and
Remember that all this comes from the first glass.
The wine may be pleasant to the taste, and may for the
time being, furnish happiness ; but it must never be
forgotten that whatever degree of exhiliration may
be produced in a healthy person by the use of wine,
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 24 1
it will most certainly be succeeded by a degree of
nervous depression proportioned to the amount of
previous excitement. Hence the immoderate use
of wine, or its habitual indulgence, debilitates the
brain and nervous system, paralyzes the intellectual
powers, impairs the functions of the stomach, pro-
duces a perverted appetite for a renewal of the dele-
terious beverage, or a morbid imagination, which
destroys man's usefulness.
The next important need with our people, is the
cultivation of habits of business. We have been
so long a dependent race, so long looking to the
white as our leaders, and being content with doing
the drudgery of life, that m<jst who commence busi-
ness for themselves are likely to fail, because of
want of a knowledge of what we undertake. As
the education of a large percentage of the colored
people is of a fragmentary character, having been
gained by little and little here and there, and must
necessarily be limited to a certain degree, we should
use our spare hours in study and form associations
for moral, social, and literary culture. We must
aim to enlighten ourselves and to influence others to
Our work lies primarily with the inward culture.,
at the springs and sources of individual life and
character, seeking everywhere to encourage, and
assist to the fullest emancipation of the human mind
from ignorance, inviting the largest liberty of
thought, and the utmost possible exaltation of life
into approximation to the loftier standard of culti-
242 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
vated character. Feeling that the literature of our
age is the reflection of the existing manners and
modes of thought, etherealized and refined in the
alembic of genius, we should give our principal en-
couragement to literature, bringing before our asso-
ciations the importance of original essays, selected
readings, and the cultivation of the musical talent.
If we need any proof of the good that would
accrue from such cultivation, we have only to look
back and see the wonderful influence of Homer over
the Greeks, of Virgil and Horace over the Romans,
of Dante and Ariosto over the Italians, of Goethe
and Schiller over the Germans, of Eacine and Vol-
taire over the French, of Shakespeare and Milton
over the English. The imaginative powers of these
men, wrought into verse or prose, have been the
theme of the king in his palace, the lover in his
dreamy moods, the farmer in the harvest field,
the mechanic in the work-shop, the sailor on the
high seas, and the prisoner in his gloomy cell.
Indeed, authors possess the most gifted and fertile
minds who combine all the graces of style with
rare, fascinating powers of language, eloquence,
wit, humor, pathos, genius and learning. And to
draw knowledge from such sources should be one
of the highest aims of man. The better elements of
society can only be brought together by organizing
societies and clubs.
The cultivation of the mind is the superstructure
of the moral, social and religious character, which
will follow us into our every-day life, and make us
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 243
what God intended us to be — the noblest instru-
ments of His creative power. Our efforts should be
to imbue our minds with broader and better views of
science, literature, and a nobleness of spirit that
ignores petty aims of patriotism, glory, or mere
personal aggrandizement. It is said, never a shadow
falls that does not leave a permanent impress of its
image, a monument of its passing presence. Every
character is modified by association. Words, the
image of the ideas, are more impressive than shad-
ows ; actions, embodied thoughts, more enduring
than aught material. Believing these truths, then, I
say, for every thought expressed, ennobling in its
tendency and elevating to Christian dignity and
manly honor, God will reward us. Permanent suc-
cess depends upon intrinsic worth. The best way
to have a public character is to have a private one.
The great struggle for our elevation is now with
ourselves. We may talk of Hannibal, Euclid,
Phyllis, Wheatly, Benjamin Bannaker, and Tous-
saint L'Overture, but the world will ask us for our
men and women of the day. We cannot live upon
the past ; we must hew out a reputation that will
stand the test, one that we have a legitimate right
to. To do this, we must imitate the best examples
set us by the cultivated whites, and by so doing we
will teach them that they can claim no superiority
on account of race.
The efforts made by oppressed nations or commu-
nities to throw off their chains, entitles them to, and
gains for them the respect of mankind. This, the
244 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
blacks never made, or what they did, was so feebie
as scarcely to call for comment. The planning of
Denmark Vesoy for an insurrection in South Caro-
lina, was noble, and deserved a better fate ; but he
was betrayed by the race that he was attempting to
Nat Turner's strike for liberty was the outburst of
feelings of an insane man, — made so by slavery.
True, the negro did good service at the battles of
Wagner, Honey Hill, Port Hudson, Millikin's Bend,
Poison Springs, Olustee and Petersburg. Yet it
would have been far better if they had commenced
earlier, or had been under leaders of their own
color. The St. Domingo revolution brought forth
men of courage. But the subsequent course of the
people as a government, reflects little or no honor
on the race. They have floated about like a ship
without a rudder, ever since the expulsion of
The fact is the world likes to see the exhibition of
pluck on the part of an oppressed people, even
though they fail in their object. It is these out-
bursts of the love of liberty that gains respect and
sympathy for the enslaved. Therefore, I bid God
speed to the men and women of the South, in their
effort to break the long spell of lethargy that hangs
over the race. Don't be too rash in starting, but
prepare to go, and "don't stand upon the order of
going, but go." By common right, the South is the
negro's home. Born, and "raised" there, he cleared
up the lands, built the cities, fed and clothed the
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 245
whites, nursed their children, earned the money to
educate their sons and daughters ; by the negro's
labor churches were built and clergymen paid.
For two hundred years the Southern whites lived
a lazy life at the expense of the negro's liberty.
When the rebellion came, the blacks, trusted and
true to the last, protected the families and homes of
white men while they were away fighting the Gov-
ernment. The South is the black man's home ; yet
if he cannot be protected in his rights he should
leave. Where white men of liberal views can get
no protection, the colored man must not look for it.
Follow the example of other oppressed races, strike
out for new territory. If suffering is the result, let
it come ; others have suffered before you. Look at
the Irish, Germans, French, Italians, and other
races, who have come to this country, gone to the
West, and are now enjoying the blessings of liberty
and plenty ; while the negro is discussing the ques-
tion of whether he should leave the South or not,
simply because he was born there.
While they are thus debating the subject, their
old oppressors, seeing that the negro has touched
the right chord, forbid his leaving the country.
Georgia has made it a penal offence to invite the
blacks to emigrate, and one negro is already in
prison for wishing to better the condition of his
fellows. This is the same spirit that induced the
people of that State to offer a reward of five thousand
dollars, in 1835, for the head of Garrison. No
people has borne oppression like the negro, and no
246 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
race has been so much imposed upon* Go to his
own land. Ask the Dutch boor whence comes his
contempt and inward dislike to the negro, the
Hottentot, and Caffre; ask him for his warrant to
reduce these unhappy races to slavery ; he will point
to the fire-arms suspended over the mantle-piece —
"There is my right,"
Want of independence is the colored man's great-
est fault. In the present condition of the Southern
States, with the lands in the hands of a shoddy,
ignorant, superstitious, rebellious, and negro-hating
population, the blacks cannot be independent. Then
emigrate to get away from the surroundings that
keep you down where you are. All cannot go, even
if it were desirable ; but those w r ho remain will have
a better opportunity. The planters will then have to
pursue a different policy. The right of the negroes
to make the best terms they can, will have to be rec-
ognized, and what was before presumption that called
for repression will now be tolerated as among the
privileges of freedom. The ability of the negroes
to change their location will also turn public senti-
ment against bull-dozing.
Two hundred years have demonstrated the fact
that the negro is the manual laborer of that section,
and without him agriculture will be at a stand-still.
The negro will for pay perform any service under
heaven, no matter how repulsive or full of hardship,
He will sing his old plantation melodies and walk
about the cotton fields in July and August, when the
toughest white man seeks an awning. Heat is his
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 247
element. He fears no malaria in the rice swamps,
where a white man's life is not worth sixpence.
Then, I say, leave the South and starve the whites
into a realization of justice and common sense.
Remember that tyrants never relinquish their grasp
upon their victims until they are forced to.
Whether the blacks emigrate or not, I say to
them, keep away from the cities and towns. Go
into the country. Go to work on farms.
If you stop in the city, get a profession or a
trade, but keep in mind that a good trade is better
than a poor profession.
In Boston there are a large number of colored
professionals, especially in the law, and a majority
of whom are better fitted for farm service, mechani-
cal branches, or for driving an ash cart.
Persons should not select professions for the name
of being a "professional," nor because they think
they will lead an easy life. An honorable, lucrative
and faithfully-earned professional reputation, is a
career of honesty, patience, sobriety, toil and
No drone can fill such a position. Select the pro-
fession or trade that your education, inclination,
strength of mind and body will support, ancj then
give your time to the work that you have under-
taken, and work, work.
Once more I say to those who cannot get remuner-
ative employment at the South, emigrate.
Some say, "stay and fight it out, contend for your
rights, don't let the old rebels drive you away, the
248 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
country is as much yours as theirs," That kind of
talk will do very well for men who have comfortable
homes out of the South, and law to protect them ;
but for the negro, with no home, no food, no work,
the land-owner offering him conditions whereby he
can do but little better than starve, such talk is non-
sense. Fight out what? Hunger? Poverty? Cold?
Starvation? Black men, emigrate.
IN America, the negro stands alone as a race. He
is without mate or fellow in the great family of
man. Whatever progress he makes, it must be
mainly by his own efforts. This is an unfortunate
fact, and for which there seems to be no remedy.
All history demonstrates the truth that amalgama-
tion is the great civilizer of the races of men.
Wherever a race, clan, or community have kept
themselves together, prohibiting by law, usage, or
common consent, inter-marriage with others, they
have made little or no progress. The Jews, a dis-
tinct and isolated people, are good only at driving a
bargain and getting rich. The Gipsies commence
and stop with trading horses. The Irish, in their
own country, are dull. The Coptic race form but a
handful of what they were — those builders, un-
equalled in ancient or modern times. What has
become of them? Where are the Romans? What
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 249
races have they destroyed ? What races have they
supplanted? For fourteen centuries they lorded it
over the semi-civilized world ; and now they are of
no more note than the ancient Scythians, or Mongols,
Copts, or Tartars. An un-amalgamated, inactive
people will decline. Thus it was with the Mexicans,
when Cortes marched on Mexico, and the Peruvians,
when Pizarro marched on Peru. „
The Britons were a dull, lethargic people before
their country was invaded, and the hot, romantic
blood of Julius Caesar and William of Normandy
coursed through their veins.
Caractacus, king of the Britons, was captured and
sent to Rome in chains. Still later, Hengist and
Horsa, the Saxon generals, imposed the most humili-
ating conditions upon the Britons, to which they were
compelled to submit. Then came William of Nor-
mandy, defeated Harold at Hastings, and the blood
of the most renowned land-pirates and sea-robbers
that ever disgraced humanity, mixed with the Briton
and Saxon, and gave to the world the Anglo-Saxon
race, with its physical ability, strong mind, brave
and enterprising spirit. And, yet, all that this race
is, it owes to its mixed blood. Civilization, or the
social condition of man, is the result and test of the
qualities of every race. The benefit of this blood
mixture, the negro is never to enjoy on this conti-
nent. In the South where he is raised, in the North,
East, or West, it is all the same, no new blood is to
be infused into his sluggish veins.
His only hope is education, professions, trades,
250 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
and copying the best examples, no matter from what
source they come.
This antipathy to amalgamation with the negro, has
shown itself in all of the States. Most of the
Northern and Eastern State Legislatures have
passed upon this question years ago. Since the
coming in of the present year, Rhode Island's Sen-
ate refused to repeal the old law forbidding the inter-
marriage of whites and blacks. Thus the colored
man is left to "paddle his own canoe " alone. Where
there is no law against the mixture of the two races,
there is a public sentiment which is often stronger
than law itself. Even the wild blood of the red
Indian refuses to mingle with the sluggish blood of
the negro. This is no light matter, for race hate,
prejudice and common malice all die away before
the melting power of amalgamation. The beauty of
the half-breeds of the South, the result of the crime
of slavery, have long claimed the attention of writers,
and why not a lawful mixture ? And then this migTit
" Making a race far more lovely and fair,
Darker a little than white people are :
Stronger, and nobler, and better in form,
Hearts more voluptuous, kinder, and warm ;
Bosoms of beaut}^, that heave with a pride
Nature had ever to white folks denied. ,,
Emigration to other States, where the blacks will
come in contact with* educated and enterprising
whites, will do them much good. This benefit by
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 25 I
commercial intercourse is seen in the four thousand
colored people who have come to Boston, where
most of them are employed as servants. They are
sought after as the best domestics in the city. Some
of these people, who were in slavery before the
war, are now engaged in mercantile pursuits, doing
good business, and showing what contact w r ill do.
Many of them rank with the ablest whites in the
same trades. Indeed, the various callings are well
represented by Southern men, showing plainly the
need of emigration. Although the colored man has
been sadly at fault in not vindicating his right to
liberty, he has, it is true, shown ability in other
fields. Benjamin Banneker, a negro of Maryland,
who lived a hundred years ago, exhibited splendid
natural qualities. He had a quickness of apprehen-
sion, and a vivacity of understanding, which easily
took in and surmounted the most subtile and knotty
parts of mathematics and metaphysics. He pos-
sessed in a large degree that genius which consti-
tutes a man of letters ; that quality without which
judgment is cold, and knowledge is inert; that
energy which collects, combines, amplifies, and
The rapid progress made in acquiring education
and homesteads by the colored people of the South,
in the face of adverse circumstances, commends the
highest admiration from all classes.
The product of their native genius and industry,
as exhibited at county and State Agricultural Fairs,
speak well for the race.
252 MY SOUTHERN HOME.
At the National Fair, held at Raleigh, N, C, in
the autumn of 1879, the exhibition did great credit
to the colored citizens of the South, who had the
matter in charge. Such manifestations of intellect-
ual and mechanical enterprise will do much to stim-
ulate the people to further development of their
powers, and higher facilities.
The colored people of the United States are sadly
in need of a National Scientific Association, to which
may be brought yearly reports of such investigations
as may be achieved in science, philosophy, art, phil-
ology, ethnology, jurisprudence, metaphysics, and
whatever may tend to unite the race in their moral,
social, intellectual and physical improvement.
We have negro artists of a high order, both in
painting and sculpture ; also, discoverers who hold
patents, and yet the world knows little or nothing
about them. The time for the negro to work out
his destiny has arrived. Now let him show himself
equal to the hour.
In this work I frequently used the word "Negro,''
and shall, no doubt, hear from it when the negro
critics get a sight of the book. And why should I
not use it? Is it not honorable? What is there in
the word that does not sound as well as "English,"
<< Irish," "German," "Italian," "French?"
MY SOUTHERN HOME. 253
"Don't call me a negro ; I'm an American ," said a
black to me a few days since.
"Why not?" I asked.
"Well, sir, I was born in this country, and I don't
want to be called out of my name."
Just then*, an Irish- American came up, and shook
hands with me. He had been a neighbor of mine in
Cambridge. When the young man was gone, I
inquired of the black man what countryman he
thought the man was.
"Oh ! " replied he, "he's an Irishman."
"What makes you think so?" I inquired.
"Why, his brogue is enough to tell it."
"Then," said I, "why is not your color enough to
tell that you're a negro ? "
" Arh ! " said he, "that's a horse of another color,"
and left me with a "Ha, ha, ha ! "
Black men, don't be ashamed to show your colors >
and to own them.
THE RISING SON:
The Antecedents and Advancement of the Colored Eaoe.
By Wm. Wells Brown, M.D.
Price $2.00 per copy.
THIS standard work has passed through ten editions, and the agents are still
selling it in large numbers. The following are some of the comments of the
"In reading Dr. Brown's earlier works, we formed a high opinion of his
literary ability, but this, his last effort, surpasses all his former writings, and
gives him a permanent position with the most profound historians. The foot-
notes and references in The Rising Son give it a reliability that will secure
for it a place in all our libraries. Every friend of the race will get the book, and
do colored man wi 1 remain long without it. The blacks, everywhere, owe the
author a lasting debt of gratitude." — Boston Evening Transcript,
" This is a history of the blacks commencing with the Ethiopians coming
down the NVe to Carthage, following Hannibal in his wonderful career, thence
proceeding to Africa. The author takes up the condition of the various tribes,
giving a history of the African slave trade, the introduction of the negroes into
the West Indies, fuli account of the St. Domingo revolutions, as well as the out-
break in other colonies ; the landing of the first slaves in Virginia, and the history
of the rise, progress and fall of the slave power. Dr. Brown's long experience
in the advocacy of the rights of his people, his industry and literary ability,
eminently qualify him for the arduous task, and it will be read with interest,
astonishment, and delight." — Boston Commonwealth.
" The Rising Son is the fruit of long research, careful study, and a reflective
mind. It is well written, and Dr. Brown deserves hearty praise for the
conception, the method, and the manner of his work." — The Boston Congrega-
"Dr. Brown has given us, in this valuable volume, a collection of great
value to those who would know more of the negro race than has been gene rally
known. The book is printed on excellent paper, nicely bound, and its typo-
graphical execution is of the best." — New National Era, Washington, D.G,
" We say at once, — Let every colored man in the country buy this Rising Son t
and read its forty-nine chapters ; and the fiftieth too, if he have the time. There
is much in it that will repay the most complete perusal." — The Christian
" No book yet published regarding the colored race is as complete, exhaustive,
and valuable as this work. The author is one of the best-informed represent-
ative colored men in the country, and the book is as concise a history of the
colored race from the earliest period to the present time as has ever appeared."
— Daily Chronicle, Washington, D. C.
"We commend it heartily as one of the most valuable books yet published
for the up-lifting of the race. To the young men of America, this work will
be invaluable, both as a history and an incentive to press forward. Its brief
sketches of live men of the time, are all an invitation to them to ' come up
higher.' "— Our National Progress, Harrisburgh, Pa.
" The Rising Son proclaims Dr. Brown a man of versatile genius, and gives
him undisputed rank on the catalogue of American authors, without regard to
race or color." — The National Monitor, Brooklyn, N. Y.
Agents wanted in every State to sell this work, and to whom
great inducements are offered. Send in your orders. A Book will
be sent to any address, free of postage, on receipt of price, $2.00.
A. G. BROWN & CO., Publishers, 28 East Canton St, f Boston, Mass.
"THE NEGRO IN THE REBELLION:"
HIS HEROISM AND HIS FIDELITY.
Containing 380 Pages, Bound in Cloth, Price, $1.50.
This splendid work was published in 1867, and nearly the
whole edition was burnt in the great Boston fire, so that but few
copies were sold.
The universal demand now, for the only History which has
done justice to the heroism of the colored Americans in the late
war, induces us to get out this new edition.
The following are some of the comments of the Press ; —
William Wells Brown, M.D., the colored historian, is an author of whom the
American Negro ought to feel proud. He has written much, and become popular as an
«« Commencing with the first cargo of slaves landed in the Colonies in 1620, Dr.
Brown carries the Negro through the war of 1812, the John Brown Raid, and the
Rebellion, portraying in a graphic manner the horrors of the slave-trade, the different
struggles of individual Negroes for the freedom of themselves and brothers ; and finally
gives a complete and detailed history of the part taken by the colored man in the late
war, which showed to the world the true heroism and fidelity of the race.
" The book is full of interesting and instructive facts, told in a fascinating way."—
The National Monitor, Brooklyn, N. T,
" Dr. Brown has laid his race under great obligations to him for writing this History
of the services of the Negro in the Wars for American Liberty."— Wm. Lloyd Garrison.
M The Negro in the Rebellion is a needed accession to our literature, and does the
author great credit."— New York Tribune*
" Every soldier of the war, and especially every colored soldier, wiU want this
fooek."— New York Evening Post.
A. Gc. BROWN &c CO., Publishers, Boston, Mass.
"My Southern Home;"
Or, the South and Its People.
BY DR. WM. WELLS BROWN.
PRICE, $LOO PER. COPT.
The following are some of the comments of the Press : —
"This book may well be termed the great inside view of the South. It runs back for
years, and gives the state of society in the olden time. For wit and humor it has
had no equal. Dr. Brown faces the whole problem of the negroes* past and future i:i a
manly, sensible, incisive way." — Daily Advertiser, Boston.
"The work is full of spicy incidents and anecdotes."— The Commonwealth Boston.
"The book is very entertaining and suggestive, and will be read with pleasure and
profit." — Zion's Herald, Boston.
"Dr. Brown has given us an interesting book."— The Journal, Boston.
"A racy book, brim full of instruction, wit, and humor, and will be read with,
delight."— Daily Transcript, Boston.
"Dr. Brown has written a very interesting and instructive volume upon the South
and its people at the present time. The book is illustrated with an engraving of the
author, which does no justice at all to the handsome features of one of the most able of
the anti-slavery orators of the past generation." — Sunday Herald, Boston.
"The most graphic and racy work yet written on the South and its people."— New
"Dr. Brown gives an interesting picture of the South, discusses the Negro question
with sound sense and logical force, and clearly points out to the proscribed colored
man the way to rise and rank as a man among men. We commend the book to our
readers."— The National Monitor, Brooklyn, N. Y.
"The style is easy and pleasing. The portrayal is wonderful. Throughout the
work there is a vein of humor running which is a characteristic of the author, and
creative of side-splitting laughter in its effect. Be sure and get the book." — Virginia
Star, Richmond* Va.
"'My Southern Home,' is a true and faithful picture of Southern Whites and
Blacks. Read the book by all means." — Herald and Pilot, Nashville, Tenn.
••©r. Brown lias written an interesting book."— Fred Douglass,
A. G. BROWN & CO., Publishers, Boston, Mass.
Jinaaia i a pin? o s